Do You Execute Your Strategy?
Is strategy the best kept secret in your organization? Is your organization's execution impervious to its strategy? Does your organization continuously and pro-actively advance and adapt its strategy?
Lack of Strategy Execution
For several reasons, companies struggle to develop a strategy and execute that strategy successfully. On one end of the spectrum there are companies, consumed by their daily operations and fire-fighting, that have no time, interest or ability in developing and articulating a strategy for the future. Management and employees in such companies primarily focus on their routine work and spend little time on strategically advancing the organization to the next level. Their wheels are stuck rotating in status quo.
"When companies do not execute their strategy,
they stop evolving."
On the other end of the spectrum there are companies that have been burned by elaborate and time consuming strategic planning initiatives that produced no results. Often, due to fast changing market conditions the plans were obsolete almost as soon as they were developed. In other situations, internal and external pressure led the management team and employees to execute in any manner possible to achieve their financial goals, and completely overlook/disregard their strategic plan. The strategic planning exercise was soon regarded in these companies as an exercise in futility. Strategy had unceremoniously died at the altar of execution.
The Marriage of Strategy and Execution
Strategy is about making sure the organization is doing the right things (effectiveness). Execution is about making sure that the organization is doing things (making it happen) and doing it right (efficiency).
Productivity = Effectiveness * Efficiency * Volume
The productivity of an organization is a factor of doing the right things, doing them right and the quantity or volume of work done. Strategy and execution are both necessary components for a productive organization.
When companies do not execute a strategy, they stop evolving. Continuously advancing the strategy is as important a goal as delivering operational and financial results. If operations is the back wheel of your metaphorical business bicycle, strategy is the front wheel.
How do you strike the right balance — how do you spend the appropriate amount of time to develop a timely strategy and ensure your organization incorporates the strategy in its everyday execution?
As the leader, you must draw a line in the sand. You must communicate that developing and following a strategy is not a choice. The company may not need an expensive and laborious strategic plan, but it absolutely needs strategic thinking. And, strategic thinking not once a year during a management retreat, but multiple and regular strategic review sessions during the year to evaluate the company’s execution and modify the strategy as needed to adapt to changing external and internal conditions.
Strategic thinking and review sessions that are interspersed during the year will be less time consuming than annual retreats and closely reflect execution data and ground realities. These reviews will help the organization consciously and deliberately balance its long-term and short term needs. Regular strategic reviews will ensure the organization does not forget the need to make strategic advances, and at the same time provide the impetus to adjust the operational and execution thrust to match the strategy.
This tight integration between strategy and execution will ensure that the two wheels of the business bicycle act in tandem. It will provide your organization a better sense of direction while providing it the agility and nimbleness to stay ahead of the competition.
Is a recognized business thought leader. Quoted in various publications including the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, CBS MoneyWatch, and regularly interviewed by media outlets, Kathuria has been featured by the BusinessMakers show, CBS Radio, and is a monthly columnist for the SmartBusiness Magazine.
Kathuria is the author of the highly acclaimed leadership parable, The Coherent Company: Drive coherence across mission, vision, goals, strategy, execution and culture to unleash performance. It is a realistic and intense story of how a CEO struggles to transform the business and, in the process, struggles with his personal transformation.
Kathuria is the founder and president of Cohegic Corporation, a management consulting, executive coaching and sales coaching firm. Halliburton, Hewlett-Packard, St. Lukes Episcopal Health System, AT&T, and Imperial Sugar Company executives have co-published seminal business articles with Kathuria in the Houston Business Journal on sales effectiveness, performance, corporate culture, and change management.
Invited to speak at large conferences and corporate meetings, Kathuria is a thought provoking and vivacious speaker. He has spoken at the 5th Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference, Rice University, Business Forum on Emerging Markets, University of Houston's Wolff Center For Entrepreneurship, University of Texas' Fleming Center for Healthcare Management, Institute of Internal Auditors, Dover Club, Galleria Chamber of Commerce, American Business Women's Association, French American Chamber of Commerce, Business Resources Group, Financial Executives Networking Group, Silver Fox Advisors, Houston Technology Center and the 2011 SPE Americas E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference.