5 Myths of Strategy Execution // Start thinking more broadly about #AlignedValue


Read the cover story from the March 2015 edition Harvard Business Review – and Take a fresh perspective on strategy execution.  All the “right things” your leadership team is doing by default, might be off-target.

The Problem

Leaders can read thousands of guides about developing a strategy – but very few about how to actually execute one.  Time and again, smart leadership teams are failing to realize their strategic objectives because execution breaks down.  Thankfully – simple, practical solutions are within reach.

About the Research

Nine years ago one of Donald Sull, a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, began a large-scale project to understand how complex organizations can execute their strategies more effectively. His research included more than 40 experiments in which we made changes in companies and measured the impact on execution, along with a survey administered to nearly 8,000 managers in more than 250 companies.  The responses painted a remarkably consistent picture of why strategy execution fails so frequently.

Key Findings

1. More than 400 Global CEOs surveyed claim that execution excellence was the number one corporate challenge in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

2. Contrary to popular wisdom, poor execution is not due to a lack of alignment, nor a weak performance culture.  In fact, the chain of command up-and-down the hierarchy is aligned (but not laterally), bosses and direct reports rely upon one another, and the people who meet their numbers are consistently rewarded.

3. Poor (a) coordination across units and (b) organizational barriers to agility are the leading reasons why corporations are failing to adapt to changing market conditions and seize new opportunities.

4. Resources – specifically human capital and budgetary funding – are illiquid.  Leadership teams have a poor track record of exiting declining businesses and unsuccessful initiatives.  (Sing “Let it go” from the movie Frozen with me.)

5. Finally, leadership teams are investing in nonstrategic projects.  Specifically, attractive opportunities outside of core strategic objectives are overlooked, or go unfunded.  Perceptions of what’s on-strategy and off-strategy are stubbornly ingrained into a corporation’s culture.   What’s worse, strategic priorities are all too often underfunded.

What are the Five Myths of Strategy?

1. Execution Equals Alignment

2. Execution Means Sticking to the Plan

3. Communication = Understanding

4. A Performance Culture Direves Execution

5. Execution Should Be Driven from the Top

Read the article to learn how to debunk the myths: https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-strategy-execution-unravelsand-what-to-do-about-it?cm_sp=Nav%20Landing-_-Links-_-Featured%20Item#

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