Haven’t we seen this play out numerous times before? It’s Monday morning, Bob’s not only rested and recharged after the weekend but also motivated from the company update last Friday so Bob’s pumped to make progress in executing the objectives / strategy outlined by the organisation.
An intended quick check of emails ends up taking 2 hours sorting through and responding to the various topics. Bob’s only a couple of hours off schedule but wait Bob’s still not really clear what needs to be done to implement the strategy so Bob defers it until some other time once he gets greater clarity.
We often find that strategy isn’t executed effectively because it’s too broad without being broken down into specific actions (who will do what, when and where) or not understood.
PwC’s 17th annual Global CEO Survey found that 78% of Global CEOs surveyed expected to transform their organizations yet only 54% of organizations were satisfied with their ability to execute on their strategic vision.
Now layer in the 2015 Gallup Poll of 7,200 adults who had left jobs where 54% responded they left because of their manager: workers feel like they’re given little guidance for what’s expected of them. Employees with managers who helped set work priorities were much happier and less likely to leave.
Executing strategy can be like Tug of War – it’s not always the biggest or strongest team that wins but the team who best works together pulling in the same direction.
What can be done about it?
Morale is frequently less than optimal if expected outcomes are not being achieved so departments / organisations need to have a coordinated approach to implementing strategy. Suggestions include:
Alignment - There needs to be clarity and alignment as to what’s expected. With alignment we need to think Big Picture (yearly, quarterly) but plan actions (monthly, weekly, daily). And by plan we must make conscious decisions what the team and individuals within the team will actually do – are we just busy or have we prioritised what’s important?
Manage projects – Deploy small agile workgroups to deliver specific actions
Accountability – Once there’s clarity and alignment, teams and individuals need to be accountable for delivery (weekly review of progress versus plan – successes, failures, learnings)
Measurement – At any stage anyone should be able to understand whether they are winning or not (in sports the scoreboard usually provides a quick simple snapshot). Franklin Covey talk about acting on lead measures not lag measures ie. If the goal is to lose weight then the lead measures could be exercise, calorie count etc while the lag measure is weighing yourself
Recognise performance – Success needs to be celebrated, recognised and even rewarded (rewards don’t have to be monetary but could be)
If only we had sufficient time to implement
While the above tips can be expanded upon, some of you are probably saying it all sounds fine in theory and strategy could be executed if only there was enough time. And that’s where the link between productivity (an effective working rhythm) underpins the space required to execute against organisational objectives.
Leveraging productivity is the key and you might be surprised to know there’s potential to even easily increase it by up to 20% (for really effective people increases might be marginal but for others it can be even greater than 20%).
Imagine how much more could be achieved from even a marginal increase in productivity and how great and more profitable your department or organisation would be with the strategic plan implemented.