Every organization, regardless of the size, industry – from the smallest to the largest, domestically or globally, all have the same strategic resources – people, processes/information and finances. Without these and the integration between them you at best create a silo within your business and your individual business units might have some resemblance to vertical and horizontal alignment – yet not across the entire business entity which is mandatory for effective strategy execution.
A recent study by Forbes Insight asked 163 CEOs, senior strategists and communications professionals what strategy is. Their key finding was, “senior management does not have a common definition of what strategy is.”
So why is this?
If you cannot even be on the same page within your organization then you are likely not executing upon and against the same strategies with in the business units – most likely creating silos. Do silos create uniformity? The simple answer is no.
A major aspect of strategy is the strategy execution process itself. Think of the simple differences between making and executing strategy. Generally, it only takes a short time and a few people to develop a strategy—a top team can formulate a strategy in a few days or weeks, yet it requires the entire organization to execute the strategy. There is often a “plan to plan‟ or an underlying process supporting strategic planning; not the case for strategy execution; there is rarely a process explaining how to do it. The reason for this absence is simple—strategy execution is considered by many to be an outcome not a process.
Simple strategic diagnostics facilitate the ability to be able to integrate your strategic resources, so that your entire business is clearly aligned and executing toward and on the same things. Recently the leaders of the Euro Zone admitted that when the Euro was created and thus implemented, they did not have a common Vision. Without this you have every country participating operating strategies against their own Vision – defined or undefined – and ineffectively aligning and executing together – consistently and in real time.
If you do not consider your strategy to be a process, then how are you going to align the 3 strategic resources that every organization has – people, processes/information and finances? Vision, Strategy and Activities = People + Processes + Finances = Effective Strategic Execution.
The biggest problem that businesses continually face is that 90% of strategies fail due to poor exeuction (per Harvard), a stat that we continuously reinforce. We do this, because in most instances of speaking with CEO’s, C-Suite, Boards and the likes, we find that alignment is difference, understanding is altered, even if slightly, from one another, and knowledge of the business strategies is not even on target. So if you are not aligned together and have a different impression of the strategies that run the business, not your departmental or business unit initiatives (which is a whole other post!), then again we ask you what are you measuring against?
Businesses need to begin to look at all 3 strategic resources – people, processes, finances – to measure and thus manage against, and with begin to look at this as a part of the business – ongoing, habit and consistent – not as a “project” that has a start and stop. Strategic Planning, strategy, alignment, execution, et al has no start and stop. It does have change.
So where are you with your business strategic planning, alignment, exeuction, etc.?
Ask yourself, if I asked my leadership team what the Vision and the top strategies are, would they be the same, similar, different, close, not even on the same page? With the answer your receive, what does it mean?
And again from the beginning of the article:
“A recent study by Forbes Insight asked 163 CEOs, senior strategists and communications professionals what strategy is. Their key finding was, “senior management does not have a common definition of what strategy is.””