One of the challenges I see leaders facing is the ability to move from strategy to implementation all while keeping spirits high and creating a positive impact along the way. Many times strategies and plans start with great gusto but then fizzle, and land short of meeting the mark we had thought and hoped for. It takes intentional and consistent effort to create success.
The good news is that there are ways of moving vision and strategy forward through implementation with, perhaps, a modified approach while simultaneously creating a positive impact at the same time, that’s a win-win!
Whether you have already set the annual goals and strategic plan for 2023 or if these are something that you are currently working on, it’s a perfect time to take those goals and frame them. This will allow you to bring them to life, making them meaningful, and creating a clear focus with purpose, themes, and objectives.
Closing the gap
The gap between strategy and execution has been an ongoing challenge for leaders. With wordy strategic plans, it’s often difficult to translate those into clear actionable tasks that deliver results. According to research from Bridges Business Consultancy, 48 percent of organizations fail to reach at least half of their strategic targets, and just 7 percent of business leaders believe their organizations are excellent at strategy implementation. Strategy is also generally put together by those in the C Suite and above, whereas execution is usually carried out by “the team on the floor” often resulting in different understandings of expectations. Additionally, the ability to create a positive impact along the process of strategic planning and execution can often be difficult. Many times leaders are seen as delivering unrealistic expectations from above which can affect employees’ pay, performance, time off, and other motivating factors.
At a high-level, here are key ideas to consider going forward:
- Create a clear purpose that people stakeholders, board members, and team members can align to for the year ahead
- Create succinct and memorable themes or categories of objectives that people can easily keep at top-of-mind and that have meaning for them, relating them to the purpose
- Show how the annual objectives relate to the benefit of all parties and to the purpose.
- Message the importance of all parties acting in accordance with the clear purpose – that we are one team and not a fixed set of resources in a functional area or internal or external role.
- Acknowledge wins and turnarounds by team members practicing desired behaviours and share how they demonstrated one to all of these.
- Align jobs to strategy. Use the Job Design Optimization Tool (JDOT) to assess whether the organization’s jobs are designed for successful strategy execution. This can often be an issue when employees are hired before a strategy is developed.
- Communicate clearly to empower employees. Not everyone understands the C Suite jargon that so often goes with strategic planning. Ensure that your goals are fully understood at all levels and that they are being translated correctly as they are cascaded down.
- Measure and Monitor Performance. Checking in at the end of the year to see if objectives have been met simply does not work. What gets measured, gets done, so ensure your goals have realistic, measurable success points and check in regularly to see if they are being met, if not, regroup and adjust.
Ultimately the success of your strategic planning will only be seen in how it is executed. There are arguments to support a mediocre strategy executed well is better than an excellent strategy executed poorly, however, we are striving for an excellent strategy, executed well right?. This is 2023, this is what will enable us to hit the mark on challenges currently facing large organizations and allow us to move from “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” to “Culture joins strategy for breakfast”
How can Spark Success help you move to an excellent strategy executed well?
Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s important, what’s working, and what is not when you are so close to the matter. At Spark Success, we support leaders by:
- Finding ways to understand the shared purpose
- Getting input to create the relatable and memorable themes
- Encouraging and evolving the continued messaging to stakeholders, board members, and team members.
- Looking at the evolving dynamics and how to collaborate with others to finetune and make adjustments with the teams.
- Staying focused on the bigger picture, evolving dynamics, relationships with multiple stakeholders, and navigating the complexities of their roles.
If you are ready to take a new approach to inspire and empower yourself and your stakeholders, board members, and team members, please reach out and book a complimentary Exploration Call with me at email@example.com.
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