If you set up a Formula 1 team you would race the car wouldn’t you?
If you built a new house you would use it wouldn’t you?
If you trained for the Olympics you would turn up to race wouldn’t you?
If you spent valuable time, energy and resources developing a strategic plan you would execute it wouldn’t you?
The answers to all these questions are of course a resounding yes! But when it comes to strategy the vast majority of organisations fall over at the execution point. This is both amazing and disappointing.
Many organisations come up with great ideas, maybe run pilots and have great teams but these lead no where. And they don’t execute the very things that they have said in their plan that they need to succeed in the market place. In fact if you believe the research the number is as high as 85% of organisations fitting into this statistic.
Why is this the case? You have set out where you want to get to and worked out where you are starting from, you may have even worked out what you need to help make this happen. And you have a beautifully presented plan document.
Of course these are the relatively easy steps, the hard part is getting the organisation motivated to start executing and focused on the importance of the plan.
There are many aspects of an organisation that need to be in place to actually allow this to happen. Importance must be placed on activities such as communications and consequences for failure but the organisation itself must also have the wear-with-all to actually make important things happen. If this doesn’t exist, if the organisation has never pulled off such a project, if it is not used to undertaking change and/or if it is stuck in its ways then the best strategy is unlikely to be enough to help the organisation win.
It is what we call a lack of organisational Execution Maturity.
But all is not lost provided you recognise the problem and the organisation is committed to success. You can take your plan, distil it into a simple document that allows visibility, set up a action program with systems, measures, communications and processes and if necessary get professional help. Just like having a personal trainer for your fitness you can have an execution coach for your strategy. Companies hire trusted advisers for a whole range of expertise: legal advice, accounting advice, audit, HR and IT and they should consider this for strategy execution too.
It has been suggested elsewhere that there are only three types of organisations, those setting the agenda, those fast enough to catch up and those that are dying. Make sure you are good at execution and you will fit under one of the first two options!