July 1, 2015 – by Otie Hauser &samhoud consultancy
A recent study conducted by Harvard Business School revealed that 29% of managers believe their organisation is too slow in responding to market opportunities and threats. In the same study, 24% of managers indicated that their organisation actually responds too quickly, causing them to lose sight of their direction. It is not surprising, therefore, that CEOs consider the execution of an organisational strategy to be one of the greatest challenges.
Effective communication and translation is crucial for allowing the vision to live and implementing the strategy. That gives meaning, direction and energy. Most organisations have numerous procedures and instruments that support this process. Nevertheless, there are often ‘blind spots’ that impede the strategy and annual plans. I would like to share two common blind spots with you.
1- Translating the strategy from organisational level to team level is usually functional, and organised top-down via the hierarchical structure. The horizontal approval and coordination of strategic objectives and related activities is therefore overlooked, which encourages the development of an ‘island culture’ or ‘silo structure’. This impedes cooperation in the chain because people are unaware and have not coordinated among themselves how they will realise the plans together.
- Directors and managers, look outside your own silos as well and seek connection with peers in the chain before the implementation of the strategy races on to other echelons. Actively seek horizontal approval and coordination during the strategy and annual plan process. Doing so simplifies and reinforces the mutual connection during the execution phase, thereby enhancing decisiveness and flexibility.
2- The connection of the vision and strategy with day-to-day work is often insufficiently clear, tangible and influenceable for an individual employee. Communication messages featuring catchy one-liners about the organisational strategy to be followed adorn the walls of the office, but are actually too far removed from the employee’s everyday reality to be of any use to him or her. The result; people continue doing what they have always done, regardless of the organisation’s strategic direction.
- HR managers, take note! Strategy execution is most certainly something that should remain connected to the HR cycle and, in particular, to the valuation and assessment process. Organise the HR process in such a way that an individual employee’s contribution to the strategy is transparent. The employee is the driving force behind making the strategy happen!
The new annual plan process for 2016 will soon commence again for many organisations. That is the basis for a successful strategy execution. Determine the direction, coordinate horizontally and vertically, then translate up until individual level in order to then make the strategy a reality together, with considerable energy!
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