Organizations continue to struggle to achieve their strategies. Although organizations and industries can identify what needs to change, most strategy-execution efforts fail. Those strategy executions that don’t fail outright will limp forward. Staggering price tags, incomplete deliverables, and a demoralized workforce usually lie in the wake of many change efforts. Not that this is a new problem, but the pace of competition and innovation today has substantially raised the stakes of the game. What worked yesterday may not work today, and an organization needs to be dynamic enough to choose new courses of action and make them a reality.
Closing the strategy execution gap starts by acknowledging that execution is a distinctive discipline and skill set built over time. By learning how to set better targets, align resources, lead at all levels, deliver results, and build controls around processes, we learn to build a system that ensures what gets done, stays done.
Each year, organizations go through the same ritual where the executive teams design their strategy and then pass it down through their organizations to be translated and implemented. But it is somewhere in the middle between creating the plan (strategy) and carrying it out (execution) that critical elements get lost. Most don’t plan to fail, but a lack of understanding finds organizations inevitably falling back into the same trap over and over again. Researchers have long acknowledged that even the most brilliant strategy is worthless if it isn’t executed well.
- “Companies, on average, only deliver 63% of the financial performance on their strategies promise.”-Harvard Business Review“
- 82% of Fortune 500 CEOs feel their organization is effective at strategic planning. Only 14% indicated to be effective at implementing the strategy.”-Forbes Magazine“
- Executional Excellence is the number one challenge facing global corporate leaders.”-Harvard Business Review“
- Slow strategy execution is the top challenge for 2019; 70% of executives say they had little confidence in their ability to solve the problem.”-Gartner“
- 50% of well-formulated strategies fail to deliver expected results because of poor execution.”-Harvard Business Review
- “Only 2% of leaders feel confident that 80-100% of their goals will be executed.”- Bridges Business Consultancy
Conversely, lacking the ability to execute is often a precursor to a company’s demise. It is fair to go so far as to say that a lack of execution is one of the most significant problems facing businesses today. With it, you can overcome many deficiencies; without it, you’re dead. Understanding and bridging the strategy-execution gap up to this point has been an ambiguous and murky exercise.
Without a clear framework, organizations are left to guesswork to fill in the strategy-execution gap that spans from expectations to deliverables. Add it all up, and the conclusion seems to be obvious: 1) Execution is essential both strategically and operationally, 2) Regardless of industry sector, we need to be better at it, and 3) Poor execution is a leading cause for concern among organizations.
What will reading Getting Shit Done do for me?
- Become more productive at work
- Derive greater satisfaction from work
- Turn strategy into execution
- Define Who has to do What and by When?
- Define cultural practices that reinforce shared beliefs
- Keep yourself and other aligned and accountable
- Become more effective with time management
- Become more effective in communication
- Set and achieve challenging, yet practical targets
- Understand the factors that define work today and what must change
- Learn that learning never ends, and why
- Learn the importance of being decisive and proactive