“Strategy 2 Execution” is defined as the single most critical process of an organization. In this context it is not a series of processes that ultimately takes you from strategy to execution. The acronym I use for the overall process is S2E.
We all have something that is keeping us awake at night. Current capabilities and resources don’t seem to be enough to ensure certainty of successful execution. In addition we have to rely on resources outside our control. Surveys claim that strategic programs fail well over 50% of the time.
No country or functional group has cornered the market on successful execution. Over the past 30 years I have worked or lived in over 45 countries. I have provided services in management consulting, strategy formulation, business and IT transformations, large program delivery, sales and engineering management. Failure is high everywhere.
A break-through solution that provides a step improvement is needed. Improvement efforts that include book and magazine articles by experts, methodologies and standards are providing only incremental improvement. They largely encompass high-level leadership ideas or focus on narrowly defined functional areas. We must work on Strategy 2 Execution as a single critical process.
Successful execution is defined as “having met expectations”. We need to be clear about what success is. The bar for what defines success must be set higher than ever. Anything less is an illusion of success.
Here are five tests for a Strategy 2 Execution break-through solution;
- Improvement is Both Measurable and Intuitively Felt: The definition of success varies widely. What is success for one participant is a failure to another. Measurability is a must but execution is often stopped because sponsors don’t feel that expectations are being met. The solution must also address leaders’ intuition as to whether success is being achieved and whether their expectations are being met.
- It Provides Overall Improvement: Execution improvements in specific functional or process areas sometimes occurs at the cost of overall Strategy 2 Execution success. Overall Strategy 2 Execution improvement is what is needed. This will only be achieved by providing a solution that integrates strategy to execution processes with the way people are organized and deployed to work. It must hold overall improvement at a higher value than improvement in a specific area.
- It is Scalable, for All Types of Execution: We exist in a global, connected world. Any solution must enhance execution across different hierarchies, functional areas, companies, industries, governments and cultures. Major performance improvement will only occur if the solution is scalable starting from individual to multi-party to large scale execution. To be widely adopted, it must be able to be incrementally deployed and serve all types of execution.
- It Survives Unpredictable Change: It’s a given that nothing important can be completed before its starting conditions and assumptions change in some significant way. Level of importance, organizational design and available resource/ finances will change before execution is complete. Inevitable change is the norm. Strategy 2 Execution must survive this.
- It Serves Everyone Equally: The solution must be practical, simple to understand and easy to adopt. To be sustainable it must willingly be shared by all roles, at all levels of the organization. It must serve to get everyone on the same page using a common language that all participants share.
This is the opportunity for every leader to share the passion, curiosity, experience, and “simple-to-radical” ideas for improving overall Strategy 2 Execution success. Welcome.