Strategy Is Useless Without A Culture Of Execution

By , On , In Culture, Leadership, Strategy

“A brilliant strategy, blockbuster product, or breakthrough technology can put you on the competitive map, but only solid execution can keep you there.”

So begins The Harvard Business Review article, The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution. The argument? Important strategic and operational decisions must be translated into action. Simply put, you have to be able to deliver on your intent.
But execution isn’t just a tactic or something that does or doesn’t get done – it’s a system that must be a part of your company’s culture.
Execution is set of techniques and behaviours that every company needs to master to have competitive advantage. It should be a central part of your strategy and goals.
In their book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan say the key to effective execution lies in three areas: people, strategy and operations.
However, they point out the people process is more important than either the strategy or operations processes.

“After all, it’s the people of an organisation who make judgments about how markets are changing, create strategies based on those judgments, and translate the strategies into operational realities.”

Execution is the result of hundreds – if not thousands – of decisions made every day by employees who are acting based on the information they have.

And an execution culture is all about getting things done through people.

So how do you develop an execution culture in your own company? The secret is to push strategy down to the front lines.
Holding your management team accountable for results is of course important. But getting everyone involved in strategy implementation takes execution to the next level, turns talk into action and ultimately achieves your company’s goals.
Here are 3 ways to foster an execution culture in your own business:

1. Make sure every employee knows how they will help fulfil your company’s mission.

There must be clear goals for everyone in the organisation which support the overall strategy. Everybody should agree about their responsibilities for getting things done and commit to them.

2. Communicate your strategy regularly.

Communicate strategies and objectives in trainings, orientations, status meetings and more. The more your employees know about your strategy, the more they will be able to make effective job-related decisions in line with your strategy. It will also help employees to see value in their jobs.

3. Reward employees who implement strategy within their daily jobs

Create reward and recognition programs for those who demonstrate a positive impact on your strategy.

Rewarding employees motivates colleagues, and you’ll soon have a workforce driving execution at the front lines every day.
Many organisations put great strategies together, but they don’t follow through. In fact, studies have shown up to 80 per cent of them fail at the execution part of the strategy.
Now is the time to make sure your company isn’t among that statistic. Creating a culture of execution begins with the knowledge that developing strategy is simply the starting point.