The results? Of the leader’s surveyed:
- 49% perceived a gap between their strategies and execution (the ability to make their strategies happen)
- and of these 64% didn’t have full confidence that their companies would be able to close the gap!
The research highlights the following key lessons for leaders looking to close this strategy - execution gap:
- Successfully achieving execution takes more than clarifying and communicating the organization’s strategic direction. Many businesses put all their energy into crafting and gaining agreement on their vision and strategy. They frequently do not attend to clarifying the assumptions about what it will take to achieve the strategy (what will be required operationally) and the priorities for action.
- Few organizations appear to ask whether or not they have the proper management systems in place to support the achievement of the strategy.
- It is also important to go beyond gaining understanding and acceptance of the strategy throughout the organization. Vision and strategy must be translated into action at each level of the organization and, beyond that, these actions must be reviewed by senior management to ensure they are mutually supportive and well coordinated across work units and levels (rather than everyone going off and doing what they think is best for their work unit) and monitored to ensure performance expectations are met or to recalibrate the plan when new information becomes available.
- Leaders must behave in a way that is consistent with organizational values and priorities.
BOTTOMLINE: According to George, "The strategy-execution gap is not new to most leaders. Leadership is about initiating and leading change. This requires strategy, the casting of vision as well as guide the implementation and execution of the strategy. To be successful leaders need to be as diligent in guiding the execution as they are at setting and communicating strategic direction."