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Bridging the strategy-to-performance gap

Author:
Jas Kaur
Marketing Specialist
Holocentric

LinkedIn Profile

A study found that executives typically deliver only 63 per cent of their strategy’s potential due to breakdowns in planning or execution. Even the greatest strategies struggle if executed improperly.  The costs of strategy failures for a business can include confusion among the workforce, disparity between the organisation’s vision and its day-to-day operations, misuse of resources, waste of time, and money.  

The reasons for this poor record are often linked to the strategies not being adequately aligned with the organisation, insufficient mechanisms set up to measure risks and ongoing performance as well as improper communication throughout the organisation.  This 'strategy-to-performance gap' can be solved by developing a model, which is a living connected diagram of the organisation which captures and shows the relations between employee roles, business operations, strategies and goals as well as compliance obligations.   

This true representation of the organisation will help senior executives understand exactly where the business is at and provide better tools for forward looking strategic planning and for communication and tracking of those plans.    

To be most effective and give business leaders a real chance for success with their strategy execution, this business management system must assist with:  

1. Division between intentions and ability to execute

Because strategies aim to improve the way a business performs, they almost always require the business to change how it works. A strategy’s intentions must therefore be translated into roles and responsibilities.  

You need to be able to model the changes your strategy requires, convert them into discrete tasks and identify those responsible for their execution. This will allow you to understand how the impact of strategic objectives spread throughout your organisation.  


2. Measuring the success of your strategy

Business occurs at a very fast pace. Consequently, strategies have much shorter horizons and need to be finely tuned to changes in market conditions. It’s also important to keep monitoring the progress of implementation from a high level or detailed perspective to ensure deadlines are met and deliverables are achieved.  

For all this to be possible, you need traceability from the strategy down to discrete tasks and back again. It will allow you to measure the degree of implementation and the success of your efforts. This information can then be used to fine tune your business in response to your strategy and fine tune your strategy in response to changes in the business environment.  

3. Communicating your stategy to stakeholders

Translating and communicating how the strategy will impact different stakeholders is another essential element of strategy execution.  

Before your people can implement the necessary changes, those impacted by changes or responsible for implementing change must understand them. Effectively disseminating this knowledge to different stakeholders is vital. The information related to the new strategy must be up-to-date, tailored to suit the need of each individual and available in a central location where employees can easily access it to guide them and empower them to accurately implement the business vision.  

4. Understanding your risks

For strategy to be executed successfully, you must be able to understand how changes might affect each part of the business and create potential issues and risks. As such, having a clear visual representation of the relationships between people and processes will help you assess the potential risks any transformation will have on your organisation, communicate these across the business and fine tune the implementation when require to alleviate the risks. 

5. Integrating compliance into the way you do business

The execution of a new strategy is likely to bring changes to processes and roles within the organisation. The effect of such changes on a business’ governance and compliance must be projected before and during the strategy execution to ensure the organisation remains in line with regulations. As such, policies, regulations and reporting systems must be integrated into the organisation’s day-to-day operations in a way that is agile enough to move with business transformations.   

The way to achieve this is to create a comprehensive model of business operations which monitors, manages and measures requirements, clarifies responsibilities and links all compliance obligations to the related operational processes.  

A business management system that allows you to achieve these five criteria will greatly improve your chance of having your strategy executed successfully. 

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