by Harshdeep Singh Kohli __
Success = Strategic Planning + Great Execution
I once heard a CEO say,
“the recipe for success is a great strategy.” Many other entrepreneurs feel the same way. Often, this is because they relate a winning strategy as a shortcut to achieve good outcomes. For them, a definition to strategy is simply “an action plan to victory” and they hardly realise that a good strategy alone is no surefire way to accomplish something.
I have met many business leaders of established companies who have applied a great strategy in their existing business models and failed terribly because
- 50-percent of their executives don’t have a winning strategy.
- Two-thirds of them blamed their company’s inability to provide the desired support to deploy their action plan.
- Nine out of ten missed major opportunities as they’re unable to identify conventional business practices that created a ‘strategy-to-execution’ gap.
- 80-percent of them were not clear about the key objectives of business strategy.
- They’ve copied others rather than developing own winning capabilities.
- Some focused to gain a right to play the game, but missed a right to win.
An obvious reason why these entrepreneurs failed is that they’re inept to close the gap between strategy and execution. They were majorly unsuccessful to recognize where the strategy aims to go and what it can achieve. They were not willing to say NO to strategies that don’t fit their capabilities.
Clearly, there are a lot of underlying reasons for that.
Lack of resources: It is not a great strategy that fails, but people. Oftentimes, the best-laid business strategies get flop as the right people are not there at the right time in the right place to execute the plans well. A vision, organisational culture, resources and workforce are the pillars of a successful strategy. If either of the above is missing then it could develop internal frustration and dysfunctional performance. To make a good strategy successful, entrepreneurs must align their strategies with a detailed action plan and the right resources in place to execute their strategy.
Lack of employee engagement: Employees’ engagement and their sustained commitment are the stepping-stones of an effective strategy execution. The sense of responsibility collapses when a workforce is not engaged. They stop feeling as a part of a cohesive team that has unified to accomplish a defined goal collaboratively and the great strategies fail. So it’s not surprising that employee engagement is imperative for effective strategy execution. Build engagement and trust at a workplace to achieve corporate strategic objectives. The engaged workforce who are happy to work, are more receptive towards taking an ownership and get emotionally connected with organisation’s business objectives. With a motivated internal workforce who is willing to take responsibility to deploy the right approaches and action plan to make the complex things happen perfectly, a great strategy will succeed.
Lack of understanding: Entrepreneurs must understand that a successful business strategy requires a robust understanding of customer insights, interpretation of customer behaviour, market conditions. A clear understanding of above-mentioned aspects surely plays a key role in determining a successful business strategy.
Lack of communication: It is a chief driver of failure. Poor communications are toxic to the success of great strategies. The failure of an entrepreneur to convey the vision and strategic objectives to folks often creates a huge confusion as the expectations, information and opinions are not shared effectively. Folks don’t understand what they’re supposed to do and what steps to take to accomplish the goals. The poor communication actually sucks! Business leaders should avoid holding anything back and execute a good communication plan so that the strategy is reinforced and get successful.
Lack of approach: In today’s global business landscape, many well-intended strategies get failed because the business leaders lack a systematic approach to strategic execution. They fail to identify and implement the right action plans needed to overcome the ‘strategy-to-execution’ gap. Oftentimes, they overestimate the company’s competencies to adapt the evolving market conditions and not succeed in their latest strategic vision.
Furthermore, these entrepreneurs forgot a very vital step in the process of executing a great strategy i.e. a failure to compile great strategic plan before the execution phase. A result-oriented strategy compiler plan requires:
- Strategy Offsite where a team of experts are expected to spend many valuable hours offsite on situation assessment and strategy to find (a) a list of strategic objectives and (b) a high-level financial model that explains what the core team accomplish over the next consecutive years.
- First round budgeting to solve the finance-related issues. They figure out the first-draft of consolidated financials along with proposed organisational structures and budgets required to achieve the set strategic objectives.
- Strategy compilation to analyse everything about the consolidated plans and financials. The main objective of this phase is to presumably cut the ‘not-so-important’ strategic initiatives like operating expense, new recruitments, acquihires and more.
- Second round of budgeting to support the now-reduced set of strategic objectives. This step is followed by a strategy compilation again as per the revised plan — to match the requirement of the resources and the skills.
I strongly believe that successful business strategies are all about solid execution at the right time by the right pool of workforce having the right mindset. We cannot have good execution without having good strategy and vice-versa. Yes, you can win the game alone with a good strategy. You will gain a competitive advantage through a superior execution and strategy compiler.
Success = Strategic Planning + Great Execution