August 8, 2016
All leaders agree that strategy execution is the holy grail of business. Being a strategy-focused organization is a key agenda. Everybody agrees to this, but the reality is that only 50% of companies successfully execute strategy. So what goes wrong in communicating strategic objectives, and how can we get it right?
The first challenge is knowing what the strategic objectives are, and which ones to pick. Often executives pick projects or initiate objectives as strategic objectives. That confuses the issue, and all of a sudden a company has too many “strategic” objectives being worked on, making it very difficult to identify the key ones to focus on. For example, “maximize revenue from existing customers” is a strategic objective, whereas “complete the ERP project on time” is a project objective. So it’s important to pick 20-25 good strategic objectives to focus the execution of the strategy. Furthermore, the strategic objectives selected need to be balanced across four perspectives using the following framework:
Answering those questions—honestly—should allow you to identify strategic objectives that nicely summarize your overall enterprise strategy.
However, we are not done yet. Although some executives may be able to define what the appropriate strategic objectives are, they often struggle to express them in a way that resonates with the entire organization.
With proper communication, your employees can put your strategic plan into action. Not being able to do so is like a general fighting a war that can’t be won. And that’s not an ideal place to be!