Any seasoned executive knows that even the most well-thought-out strategies can fail due to poor execution.
In a March 2015 Harvard Business Review article, “Why Strategy Execution Fails and What to Do About It,” the authors site a recent survey of 400 global CEOs that found that executional excellence was the number one challenge facing corporate leaders in Asia, Europe, and the United States. The issue was followed by innovation, geopolitical instability, and top-line growth. Wow!!!
It turns out the organizations for which these CEOs work are fairly adept at translating strategy into actionable objectives and activities that align with their companies’ highest-level goals. In fact, senior leaders are generally quite effective at planning, but the difficulty comes in mobilizing their organizations to act on the plans and to adapt in response to true market conditions. Additionally, while leaders are effective at translating strategy into steps, they are not as effective in communicating the intent of the strategies themselves and the links between critical initiatives.
For change to result in meaningful and lasting impact, leaders must:
- Offer a compelling Purpose for change
- Establish a clear Picture for the future
- Communicate the Plan (tell people what will change and when)
- Develop a Path that lets employees know how you will achieve the desired results
- Approach the change with Positivity (increase excitement and reduce fear)
But there is one more critical element that is an often overlooked and undervalued – People. Successful change efforts require a level of people-readiness that is sometimes taken for granted. However, taking time to build the necessary knowledge and skills in the midst of change can be a daunting challenge. Although closing the skill gap is often a topic of conversation early on, many companies put communication and development on the back-burner. This can be a tragic mistake. A lack of organizational capability can have a significant negative affect on an institution’s ability to evolve and improve, and can stall, delay or impede the achievement of results.
Our advice is to determine which skills will be needed at every level of the organization to successfully execute the change, take an honest assessment of existing talent to identify the size of the gap, and then build strategies to close the gap quickly. In time, this strategic approach to talent development will help you create an agile and adaptive culture that will accelerate any change effort.
Look for more information on this topic in an upcoming newsletter.
If you want to increase business acumen across your organization and help translate your mission critical strategies and initiatives into measureable results, call us at (813) 220-0733.