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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Execution of Strategy

The real challenge for senior leadership teams is not picking the right strategy. In essence, they all know what they have to accomplish. Their biggest hurdle appears to be in driving effective execution of their strategy – which has a significant leadership component to it.

The execution of strategy is dependent upon team members on the front line being clear about the organization’s priorities and how they must act to achieve the stated objectives. It sounds simple but is highly complex.

In their Harvard Business Review article from last summer, Mankins & Steele reported on their research into why most organizations fail to turn “great strategy into great performance.”

The data showed that the average gap between performance and strategic plan objectives was greater than 35% among the companies that they studied.

The typical scenario was that the approved strategies were poorly communicated, which made it difficult for those at lower levels in the company to translate strategic objectives into specific actions and resource planning.

BOTTOMLINE: "Do not expect the organization to perform well if the senior team is not performing well as a unit. Time spent on building effective team process is time well spent!"

At Six Disciplines, our research found that leadership teams of top-performing organizations rated 155% higher than the lower performers. Two factors here: 1.) The ability of leadership to define a clear vision, and 2.) Appropriate involvement of leadership in leading and supporting projects that are strategic to the organization.

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