STRATEGY EXECUTION

gary-092410-final-friday-forum-3Strategy and Execution Expert

Gary started consulting in the fall of 1999. Before then he had been a serial entrepreneur and business owner in the medical fields for his entire career. When he first started consulting his focus was on helping organizations create their organizational story.

Most organizations are so busy living their “Story” they spend little or no time on actually developing their “Story.” You’ve probably heard it said before, that everyone is in marketing. Everybody in your organization is responsible for painting the picture that you want others to have of your company. But what is that picture? If your organization doesn’t provide the answer to that question, each employee will come up with their own version. With different departments, different divisions, different floors, different buildings, different cities, and different states, the number of different “Company Stories” within an organization can greatly multiply. How many different versions of your “Story” are your customers hearing? 

While it’s important that each employee understand his or her role in conveying a consistent “Company Story,” that can’t happen until the “Story” had been developed and documented. A successful story begins with consistency of the message, both internally and externally. Your “Company Story” consists of Who You Are, What You Do, and Why You Do It. If forms the basis for all employees on What They Say, How They Say It, What They Do, and How They Do It.

Creating an “organizational story” became the foundation of Gary’s “strategic planning” process. In December of 2006, he had just finished a strategic planning process with an executive team and was having a conversation with their CEO. The CEO said, “Gary, I loved the process you used with us and the outcomes we achieved. Now, do you have a process that we can use to actually implement our strategic plan.”  They both laughed at this and said wouldn’t it be great if such a system existed. On the way home Gary couldn’t stop thinking about this question. Was there a system that existed that could help organizations successfully implement their strategic plans? Gary has been working on the answer to that question ever since and has found the answer.


Why Strategy Execution Management?

Albert Gray wrote in 1940; “Any resolution that is made today must again be made tomorrow.” The same is true for your strategic plan. Most companies set out on fire to achieve their organizational strategy because our intent to take action is strongest the moment we create that intention. Unfortunately, over time, our intention slowly starts to erode. The classic example is New Year Resolutions. We all make them. And statistics show that approximately 92% of us fail  to achieve them. Why? Are we bad people? Are we liars? Are we weak-willed? No, absolutely not. We are simply unaware how fickle and fleeting our own intentions can be. We can’t make a resolution once a year and expect it to leverage us to action for that entire period of time. It doesn’t work that way.

And it doesn’t work that way for your company’s strategic plan either. Borrowing from Albert Gray, any “strategic plan” that is made today must again be made tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that and so on.


What is Strategy Execution Management?

Strategy Execution Management is the process of clarifying, deploying and achieving organizational initiatives. Execution Management requires two key components:

1. Actionable intelligence on initiatives.

The initiatives have to be clear, relevant and understood throughout the organization. We tend to write these statements in “corporate speak” and they lose their meaning as they go down the organization. They have to be clear and meaningful and they have to be kept alive and visible throughout the organization on a daily basis.

2. The leadership structure and processes to manage execution at an individual level.

No matter how you slice it, execution happens at the individual level. You have to have the leadership structure and processes in place in order to manage it. As employees accomplish the goals and milestones, it leads to the accomplishment of the initiatives. The processes and structures allow leaders to keep track of how they’re doing, at an individual level, throughout the organization.


Why is Strategy Execution Management so Important?

“Vision without execution is hallucination.” Thomas Edison’s famous quote is spot on. Getting people fired up about strategizing a plan but not actually executing it is discouraging to employees – the vision they had of the future during the planning process turned out to be just a hallucination to them. The execution value gap (the lost value between your strategic plan and the actual execution of the plan) is huge. It represents the largest opportunity cost for most organizations.

Knowing how to plan and execute while overcoming “today’s surprises” is the most foundational capability any organization can have. However, very few do! Those companies that do have execution management as a competency are able to actively and dynamically manage execution at an individual level, not just measure and review performance. Managing execution is critical in today’s environment!


Are You Aware of these Scary Statistics?

  • Less than 10% of effectively formulated strategies are effectively executed. (Fortune Magazine)
  • Over 80% of all strategies fail to get fully implemented. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Nearly 50% of business leaders say there’s a gap between their organization’s ability to develop a strategy and their ability to execute it. (Study by OnPoint)
    • They have confidence they can develop a plan, but they have little confidence that their organization can actually execute it.
    • Even worse, 64% lack confidence in their organization’s ability to close that gap. Most leaders don’t believe they can achieve the plan.
  • Research shows that the number one frustration in organizations among employees is ineffective communication. 
  • Less than 50% of employees understand how their actions relate to company goals.*
  • Only 19% of employees feel a strong sense of commitment to the company goals.*
  • Only 9% of employees believe their work has a strong link to their organization’s top priority.*
  • Over 75% of employees say their company doesn’t reward them or motivate them to achieve goals.*

    * Source: xQ Survey of 30,000 respondents representing executives, managers and front line workers in 10 functional areas in 10 major industries. Conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. and Franklin Covey.


Execution Management System – KeyneLink

Strategy Execution Management Systems are designed to keep your strategic plan in front of your executive leadership, management and employees, day-after-day. They keep the intentions high and allow you to successfully achieve your company’s initiatives year-after-year.

Execution management systems are relatively knew and there aren’t that many in existence yet. Most of the ones that exist are good in theory but are difficult to implement and almost impossible to sustain. The execution management system I use with my clients is easy to use and affordable. It’s called KeyneLink and was developed by Wayne and Kelly Nelsen of Keyne Insight. Their system is part process, part software and part roadmap. It’s a system that emphasizes people. It’s a system that drives the processes that encourage clarity, alignment and engagement amongst everyone in the organization. It promotes communication, not just top-down, but bottom-up and peer-to-peer.

It promotes alignment so that everyone can see how what they do on a daily basis actually impacts where the organization is going. It promotes accountability at all levels and eliminates the subjective popularity contest that all-too-often takes place in companies. It allows people to actually make a difference in an organization and be rewarded for their contributions. But most of all, it allows companies to consistently execute their strategic plan year-after-year!