Strategy Execution is increasingly proving to be a key to organization success. And this is true for all types of organizations be it public, private or non-profit organizations. Most leaders, however, know a lot more about strategy formulation than execution. They know much more about “planning” than “doing,” which causes major problems while rolling strategy to work. The worst part is that leaders do not own the execution process; they delegate the task of execution to people at lower lever, and very often, without proper guidelines and training.
The strategy execution problems faced by many organizations are remarkably similar to those viewed by many Leaders in the world. The obstacles to effective strategy execution are still real and formidable. While strategy planning is difficult and challenging, as always, it’s still obvious that leaders feel more than ever that the successful execution of strategy is more problematic than the formulation of a chosen strategy and even more important for organizational performance. It is still clear that making strategy work is more difficult and challenging than formulating strategy.
Strategy execution represents a disciplined process and a logical set of connected activities that enables an organization to take a strategy and make it work. Without a careful, planned approach to execution, strategic plans and objectives cannot be attained. Developing such a logical approach, however, represents a formidable challenge to management.
It is still obvious that the execution of strategy is not nearly as clear and understood as the formulation of strategy and other management issues like change and risk. Much more is known about formulation than making strategy work.
Is execution of strategy truly worth leader’s time, efforts and attention?
The answer is clearly yes. Factors such as strategic change management, risk management, building internal capabilities, local culture, organizational structure, and aspects of operational execution are vital to organization success. With success measured by total return to shareholders, focusing on execution is definitely worthwhile, leading to increased profitability. Certainly, these outcomes can only be sponsored and supported by leaders.
An executive whose relentless focus is on execution and the building of internal capabilities it is the man of the hour. Making strategy work and achieving desired results are the mark of the successful leader.
Every organization, of course, has some separation of planning and doing, of formulation and execution. However, when such a separation becomes dysfunctional when planners see themselves as the smart people and treat the doers as “grunts” there clearly will be execution problems. When the “elite” plan and see execution as something below them, detracting from their dignity as top leaders, the successful implementation of strategy obviously is in jeopardy.
Ownership of execution and the change processes are vital to execution and necessary for success. Change is impossible without commitment to the decisions and actions that define strategy execution.