A survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited (2013) of 587 senior executives globally, found that, “Eighty eight percent of survey respondents say executing strategic initiatives successfully will be ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ for their organizations competitiveness over the next three years. Yet 61% of respondents acknowledge that their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation. Moreover, in the last three years, an average of just 56% of strategic initiatives have been successful.”*
Although there a many factors that contribute to failed strategies, we have found that complexity, lack of alignment and lack of coordination across functions are three of the greatest potential barriers to an organization’s success.
- Complexity can come in the form of a changing industry, a difficult-to-comprehend business model, a unique product or service, an undocumented workflow, or a new change effort. Complexity can lead to a lack of understanding, a lack of clarity, widespread confusion, and ultimately, a paralyzed or ineffective workforce. In our experience, employees cannot embrace or act on what they do not understand.
- Alignment in terms of strategy, actions, systems and processes is critical for the achievement of results. A lack of alignment can dilute the well-intentioned efforts of a workforce and can lead to confusion and disillusionment among employees. Ultimately, this can erode trust and lead to a lack of engagement in the change effort.
- Finally, coordination is critical to successful execution. There are almost always dependencies across and between business units, departments and/or functions. But strategies are often executed at a departmental or functional level. A lack of understanding of, or appreciation for, dependencies can lead to miscomunication, unmet expectations, finger-pointing, frustration, and ultimately the failure of an initiative.
For employees to be effective in today’s environment, they must possess strong business acumen; the ability to think critically and strategically; and they must have a firm understanding of their company’s business model. They must understand how their products are made and distributed, and how their services are delivered to their customers. They need to know how the company is approaching the marketplace and must be able to grasp the intricacies of the company’s strategic initiatives. At the same time, they must also understand how their customers work, how they make money, and how their own capabilities align with their customer’s needs.
We apply the Howitwrx™ technology as we collaborate with leaders and subject matter experts in our client’s organizations to understand the business challenge, break it into component parts, and communicate it in a way that is both easy to understand and memorable. We translate that understanding through innovative technologies and design solutions tailored to the target audience. We support our with our clients to extend the knowledge by aligning key messages and deliverables with other communications and coaching opportunities to ensure that information “sticks” and that the increased understanding drives results.
Howitwrx™ helps our clients:
- Clearly communicate complex and challenging strategies and concepts
- Increase knowledge and understanding of products and services and the benefits associated with the organization
- Improve communication across, and breakdown barriers between, teams departments, divisions, and regions
- Establish consistent expectations, systems and processes
- Increase buy-in and engagement across the organization
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.