Last week we asked the question; do 90% strategies really fail due to poor execution? The question caused a flurry of activity on LinkedIn and various blogs exploring where the statistic actually came from. As suspected, the stat is very old originating from a survey conducted around 1996. However, the overwhelming response was that although things have improved since then there is still cause for concern.
This statistic in itself may be an interesting headline-grabber, but in reality the situation is far more complex. For one of the most authoritative explanations of the background take a look at the November 4th article published by Phil Jones. (Phil worked for Kaplan and Norton strategic balanced scorecard consultancy between 1995 and 2000 so has first hand knowledge).
On one aspect, everyone seems to be in agreement. To Communicate your strategy is a key element in the execution process. All to often a company will put a great effort into defining a vision and strategy and then fail to communicate it effectively to the workforce. Typically, a management team will produce a presentation at the beginning of the financial year with the instructions to ‘cascade’ to all employees or put together a start-the-year road show. While both of these activities may be good starting points, that is all they are, starting points. Strategy is not a once a year activity, it is continuous process that requires both reinforcement and modification throughout the year. For strategy to be effective it has to be informed by continuous measurement of the objectives and then modified if required to achieve a desired result.
Objectives, strategy and vision have to be in constant view at all times and become part of the operational process. Only by putting in place a formal system can this be achieved with any level of certainty and success. In today’s environment that means utilising software.
By far the most effective way to communicate your vision to all employees is to utilise a interactive software based Strategy Map. It doesn’t matter if your company is made up of 20 people or is a global enterprise of 20,000, first and foremost you want them to know exactly what the company is about and what it is trying to achieve.
And strangely enough, your employees want to know that your company has ambitions and plans and will be around for the long haul. They want to be sure that the leaders know what they are doing and are in control. They want to work in a winning environment and want to know their jobs are secure.
An interactive Strategy Map provides the means to do this. The map allows users to drill down to objectives metrics and initiatives. Most importantly of all, if you are using the right system you can make direct links between the company strategy, objectives, metrics and initiatives and therefore all employees can become engaged in the strategic process.