I believe that most executives are convinced that the success of their chosen strategy depends primarily on corporate level planning activities, communication, processes coupled with strong financial management. While to a degree, this is true because it’s absolutely foundational, it’s also completely dependent on a follow-through at all subordinate layers of the company which quite often does not happen. The belief that “it’s covered” leads to a lack of standardized consistency below this level. This creates a risk to the organization’s ability to follow through on strategy that is quite often not picked up through strategy reviews or metrics because their focus is also at the corporate level and linked to long-term strategic direction. The strategy often falls apart at an operational level, due to the lack of consistent management expectations. This is the most silent killer of strategies; the poor operational execution.
Where can companies begin to close this gap or determine whether a gap exists in the first place?
Ask yourself and others these questions:
– Does every team in the company have a plan that contributes in a meaningful way to the strategy?
– Does every team understand what the desired outcomes of it’ plan are? (focal point of the activities)
– Do your teams meet more often to discuss the strategy, than the divisions do? Does this allow adequate time for course correction?
– What degree of accountability is built into the processes?
– Do team, division and corporate level strategy reviews close with a decision point regarding the quality of implementation, the possibility of new activity required or the refocusing of current initiatives?
If you get your whole company planning, you’re ahead of most of your peers. It’s about consistency and accountability at all levels of the company.