By Stuart Clark

As the planet gets back to something approaching normal, no surprise – businesses are taking stock and making plans to take best strategic advantage for whatever comes next.

However, by and large, companies have never been great at turning strategy into action; at best, it’s been a slow and painful process, with victory often being declared before any real impact has been seen or felt. While most would agree strategy is a grand and important topic, actually executing strategy is somehow less important. We hope and pray that our people will know what the right thing to do is, and fingers crossed it actually happens.

In a post-pandemic world, that same execution challenge still exists, but it has become a thornier problem to solve. You now need to contend with:

  • Your workforce being dispersed in location, time zone, and their ability collaborate successfully – meaning key messages around strategic business priorities lose impact
  • Teams and their leaders never being all together at the same time, causing a game of corporate Telephone garbling the strategic intent as it gets passed around the organization
  • New hires who have never met their colleagues, willing and able to help drive strategy but unsure quite what to do, for what reason, with what intent
  • Tightening labor markets that increase turnover such that managers are constantly telling and retelling their people what to focus on

 

FROM – the vast majority of your organization not knowing your current strategy, let alone being able to contribute towards execution of it

 

TO – a rapid, repeatable, orchestrated process of strategy-setting at the top and activation through to the front lines, maximizing alignment, accountability and time spent on execution

 

 

We view strategy execution as an integrated part of strategy itself.  If you aren’t willing and able to execute it, why go to the expense and effort of creating it in the first place?  There are four key ingredients to drive organizational attachment to and execution of a strategy:

  1. The setting of clear, motivating objectives that make sense to the organization and provide a north star from which anyone in the organization can latch on to, absent any other direction
  2. A distillation of what success looks like – what measurable outcomes we want to create – for each and every team in the organization that is contributing to the strategy (and if that isn’t all of the teams, it’s time to take another look)
  3. Commitment from leaders, influencers, and stakeholders to focus on this strategy and to support their teams as they execute against it. Hollow words won’t cut it; this has to be a real commitment to acknowledge ‘work on this, don’t work on that’
  4. An operational cadence that each and every team follows every week, month, and quarter to focus on driving towards measurable outcomes; the good news is, this is likely just a rework of existing accountability mechanisms, not a whole new layer of administration

In a working world where teams are dispersed and people are working different hours, and with lower direct supervision, excelling in strategy execution is not an option but a necessity. Six or twelve months from now, no one on your team wants to be sitting around the same hybrid-virtual table making the same strategic plans ‘but for real this time’.

As your organization is investing time, money, and political capital in planning for and formulating what comes next, it should also be investing in making sure those plans come to fruition by way of a focused, aligned, and accountable organizational culture. It’s time to turn strategy from something we talk about to become something we all go do – anything less would be a hollow victory.

To get in touch with an Axiom Expert in creating and sustaining business alignment and focus on what matters most, contact us today.

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