Why your strategic objectives fail to be executed
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”? This well-known quote means that the culture of your company always determines success regardless of how effective your strategy may be. Well, yes and also “Strategy misalignment eats strategy for breakfast”. That means that an organization with the best strategy will get nowhere without a good strategy alignment in your organization. Ineffective strategy execution is an underestimated aspect within many companies and here’s why.
Every organization should be driven by its vision/mission or purpose and that determines the strategy in which direction the whole organization should be heading. Without a direction, where to move forward to, right? And yet, even with a clear strategy, many people in the organization have no idea what the strategy of their organization is. Let’s take a look at the numbers:
So the data shows that even the top team (C-suite) cannot name strategic priorities. A bad start, knowing that the further you go down the worse it gets. But how come that the strategy is so poorly known across the organization?
For a start, it could be due to a lack of communication. Just like any topic, the penetration of a message lies in the power of repetition. So broadcasting your strategy once a year thinking that it will stick is wishful thinking. Or worse, not mentioning strategy at all but just ask for output.
Another dealbreaker is changing the strategy too often to keep up. It’s not surprising that the employees have no idea what direction the company is steering towards.
Now the million dollar question: how to align strategy in the whole company?
Let me start with explaining why this is important.
- Highly aligned companies grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable (LSA Global 2017 – Survey of 410 companies across eight industries)
- Sense of purpose and belonging motivates people
- Without good alignment, employees run in all directions, causing internal conflicts and frustrations
- Inability to align work to results of strategy creates avoidance of accountability
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So, let’s start to move forward towards the same direction, since everyone in the company is in the same boat. You can do that with help of scaled OKR’s to align strategy with execution and vice versa. In short, you define aspirational strategic objectives, then determines the key results to measure how successful you are. The key results cascade down to the organization into a new OKR that contributes to those overarching key results.
To summarize, the OKR concept is simple and if done well it has the power to connect work on all levels to the strategic objectives. Unlike culture, strategy alignment in form of OKR can be implemented and taught to people. However, just like Scrum, with every simple framework the difficulty lies in its execution.
Do you recognize the misalignment in strategy execution within your company? Have you started, but struggle to tap into the power of OKR’s or see a need to start implementing a better way to execute your company’s strategy effectively? Hesing Kuo is more than keen to help out as a certified Scaled OKR coach with experience in the field of OKR implementation and execution.
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