Bridging the Chasm between strategy and execution is a feature of our methodology for implementing Business Excellence. The following snippet is from an insightful blog by Doug Sundheim, and explains why more than 60% of all strategic plans fail to be implemented: POOR EXECUTION!
“The implication is obvious — strategists and executors must work together better to bridge these two worlds. It’s common sense. Unfortunately, it’s far from common practice. What typically happens is an awkward hand-off between the two. In the worst cases the strategists adopt an elitist, disconnected mindset: We’re the idea people, someone else will make it happen. They don’t bother to truly understand what it takes to implement the ideas. They don’t engage the executors early and ask, “How will this actually work?” The executors contribute to the trouble as well. Often they don’t truly understand the thinking behind the strategy. They take it at face value and don’t ask enough tough questions.”
The problem of operational precedence
When a business strategy is formulated, key people are usually nominated to be accountable for implementing each objective. And actions are usually scheduled to deliver each objective. However, the people nominated rarely end up executing the scheduled action plans because their day-to-day operational tasks take precedence. The strategy therefore becomes out of date shortly after the strategy is formulated. And the lost ground is never made up!
Here is how we overcome this problem…
Every month, aided by the automated tools of our online Platform, progress against each strategic Objective is reviewed via its agreed KPI(s) for measuring progressive achievement. By means of the graphical dashboard in the Platform, the management team can instantly assess overall progress being made towards the 1-3 year Strategic Plan.
Progress towards delivery of each Objective is made every quarter. At the beginning of the quarter, the Process Managers of all the organization’s agreed Key Processes meet together to target quarterly Projects that are implemented by small autonomous teams. They each nominate one Project that involves their own assigned Key Process and would contribute towards delivery of a strategic Objective. They then decide collectively which Projects can be resourced with available manpower during the immediate quarter. As a general guide, we recommend that no individual employee should be nominated for more than one quarterly Project at any one time. This avoids personal overload.
For those Projects that ‘make the cut’, the Process Managers each prepare a 1-page Project Brief that includes nomination of the part-time members of the small Project teams. These teams are autonomous as they plan and execute their assigned Projects during the quarter.
At the next quarterly meeting, the Process Managers review the Projects that had been scheduled for completion the previous quarter.
This combination of quarterly and monthly reviews of progress ensures that the chasm between strategy formulation and strategy execution does not eventuate.
And the reward and recognition system also needs to change
A critical part of the Excellence Leader’s role is to ensure that execution of the Strategic Plan is at least as high a priority for everyone as the day-to-day operational issues. The performance of the management team should be assessed accordingly and reflected in the reward and recognition system.