Leaders frequently create plans that sound fantastic at first and then struggle when it comes to putting the plan into action. This is otherwise known as the strategy execution gap. If you’re struggling to close the strategy execution gap, it’s important to understand some of the reasons the gap exists (and what you can do to fix it).
Neglecting to Cultivate a Culture That Encourages Accountability
As companies grow, it’s common for the culture to become diluted. When a company is small, it’s easier for employees to follow strategy implementation guidelines and understand the strategy’s reasoning.
However, as your company grows, the vision and culture can get lost or misunderstood. As a result, employees may understand what they need to do but fail to comprehend why these tasks are essential. Your company may become fragmented, and employees may focus on tasks that aren’t necessary for effective strategy execution.
Solution: Encourage the Whole Company to Focus on Intelligent Work
Take steps to cultivate a company-wide culture where every employee understands the vision or purpose behind the strategy. In addition, employees should understand why the strategy will make a difference and how their focused work and efforts will help implement it. This understanding helps your teams build better work habits to bridge the strategy execution gap.
Focusing on a Rigid Plan for Strategy Implementation
While it’s understandable that you want to follow a plan that you believe is sound, in reality, rigorous methods aren’t effective at encouraging strategy implementation. Sometimes, the data, projections, and models used to develop the strategy change. Or, a plan that sounds good in theory may not be feasible in an actual work environment.
Solution: Embrace a Flexible Strategy Execution Plan
A flexible strategy implementation plan is more effective at executing your plan and promoting its long-term success. Be ready to revise your plan as necessary, and communicate the factors driving these changes to your employees.
Instead of producing a plan that you vow to follow no matter what, create a few contingencies you can adopt if economic or market conditions change. Before committing to a strategy on a widespread scale, try it out in a smaller setting to gauge its success.
If not properly executed, a sound strategy does little to encourage company growth and enhance performance. Therefore, I encourage you to spend time identifying the underlying factors hindering your strategy execution if you need to get your plans back on track.