Thursday, May 21, 2015

As a Leader: Are You Optimistic or Pessimistic about your Strategy Accomplishment

The strategy is not just one of the things a leader does, it is the most important thing.

According to an industry survey, most executives don’t think their company’s strategy will lead to success, and the interesting point is that the management is complaining about themselves. So as a leader, are you optimistic about your strategy progress, or pessimistic about its final result?

Leaders must be totally focused on strategy accomplishment. The strategy should also be focused on mission accomplishment. Hence, anything that a leader does that does not advance the strategy is the wrong thing to do, and he or she needs to set the right priority, doing the right things before doing things right. Here is a brief list of Executives complaints:
  • Most executives (50+ percent) said they do not believe that their company’s strategy will lead to success.
  • Most (50+ percent) could not say their strategy is understood by employees and customers.
  • Only a third (33 percent) said they feel the company’s core capabilities fully support the company’s strategy.
  • Only 21 percent could say all of their businesses leverage their core capabilities.
  • Just 20 percent said they feel their company has a “right to win” in all the markets it competes in.
  • 50+ percent said their company has not allocated resources in a way that really supports the strategy.
  • 50+ percent reported difficulties in ensuring that day-to-day decisions are in line with strategy.

An effective strategy serves as a framework that is a living, breathing concept. Leaders must actively interact at all levels to adapt, adjust, and develop the strategy to meet company growth, successes, and failures; otherwise, the strategy will not align with the broader aspects of the company. Many items can determine the ineffectiveness of strategy execution. For example, the weakness of inter-organizational control or weakness of adaptation of organization tasks. It should be a reminder to top corporate executives that their leadership is vital to developing a company's strategy, building support and understanding of the strategy among employees and ensuring that it is effectively communicated to customers.

It is a perceived absence of the executive level leadership in the strategy development. If they took an active role in the process, each executive should have a sense of ownership over the objectives, allocation of capabilities, and the potential for outcomes. If a majority of the leaders believe their strategies will not be met by organizational performance, the perception is that they were absent in the strategy process. Top corporate executives need to set the right example if they want their management team and employees to contribute to the organizational process of aligning a company's core capabilities with its strategy to create competitive advantages. A disengaged executive leadership style is more likely to produce a company with unconnected priorities and strategies that lack support in the management team and with employees.

Strategy planning is an ongoing process via continuous communication. Another key note, particularly in accomplishing strategic effects throughout the company, is to develop an internal and external communication plan. More often, the disconnect begins when corporate executives treat a company's strategic planning process as a once a year event and not an ongoing process. Strategic plans are living documents that require ongoing monitoring and adjustments when needed to address unforeseen changes in the marketplace. Senior executive leadership is necessary to effectively communicate the commitment and ongoing involvement of top management in the company's strategic planning process to middle managers and employees. This plan is aimed at informing the organizational personnel of the company strategy, provide milestones/objectives, and seek input for future adjustments, ensuring the company capabilities fully support the strategy. It should also target consumers, ensuring they understand how the organization's services or products fulfill their needs and the needs of the larger picture. Communication of the strategy internally expands the ability of leaders, at every level of the organization to make timely and accurate decisions, as well as highlighting the abilities of employees to grow and expand their roles within the organization.

Besides leadership and communication, performance measurement is also important to keep your progress of strategy execution on the right track. If management gets lost on how far away they are from the destination, and often, there is obviously some disconnect between the perceived and actual drivers of performance; and performance management systems do not seem to be playing a compensatory role. So from soft elements such as leadership or business culture to the hard element like implementation process or measure mechanism, strategy execution is difficult, but can be conquered via optimistic leadership and systematic practices.


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