Connecting a company’s strategy to execution is vital to achieving the organisation’s change and transformation objectives. Without creating a strong connection between the two, an organisation will never reach its full potential, and strategies will never lead to the expected outcomes.
What Does Connecting Strategy to Execution Mean?
Connecting strategy to execution is simply about creating a close, and bi-directional, link between an organization’s strategy and its execution activities. After all, if your activities don’t enable the strategy to be realised then they will waste time, resources and money, and most importantly, they will severely impact future success.
How to Connect Strategy to Execution
There are many facets to connecting an organization’s strategy to its execution activities, including starting with a clear change or transformation strategy, focusing on the right areas and processes within the business, clearly communicating the strategy across the organization, engaging with employees and stakeholders, listening to feedback, and ensuring you have the right people and tools in place to support your efforts.
Communication is Key
An organization can take some simple, quick steps to begin this important process. First, ensure the organization’s strategy is visible and everyone responsible for execution is aware of it. This can’t be overstated. It is vitally important for everyone to understand the strategy as well as how their activities tie back to, and support it. In other words, it’s all about communication, which leads to another step – feedback.
Feedback Loops are a Must
In order to foster change and transformation, it is important to listen to feedback and act on learnings. Feedback is important for several reasons. First, no one knows an organization’s activities better than the people responsible for carrying them out. As such, there is no one more qualified, or motivated, to provide feedback on how their activities support the organization than each and every employee.
Only once you start down the road of execution will you start to learn about the impact of your strategies. It is crucial that you continuously learn and use your knowledge to adjust and optimise your strategy. You must be able to manage a virtuous circle of learning: as you execute, adjust your strategy based on your learning, then learn more and adjust more, and so on and so forth.
Give Freedom to Question the Strategy & Activities
Feedback and learning is more than just creating feedback loops to show how day-to-day activities support the strategy. Employees should be given the freedom to provide input. This does not mean the strategy, or execution activities, will lose focus. Rather, this empowers employees to engage and provide constructive and insightful feedback as well as gaining a sense of ownership.
Why Don’t More Organizations Do it?
If all of this is so straightforward, then why do companies fail to accomplish this important connection? There are several reasons organizations don’t perform this important task, including not recognizing the importance or need to make the right connection between their strategy and their execution.
Another reason is organizations don’t have the tools, systems or processes to tie strategy and execution together in real or near-real time. All of which can lead to delayed decisions and/or creates a mismatch between the strategy and execution activities.
Focus on Making Connections
By focusing on connecting strategy to execution, ensuring the entire organization is aware of the strategy and understands their roles, giving the freedom to enact process improvement and providing feedback loops, an organization can ensure it remains relevant and doesn’t become stagnant.