Strategy execution occurs through people. I’ve said that many times. But the tendency of execution-challenged cultures is to say it and just assume that it will be done. They often proclaim slogans like, “Now we just need to do our jobs.” There is no room for feedback. The assumption is that it was spectacularly well planned, abundantly clear, and adequately translated into the work we do, so there will be no issues for the rest of the business in bringing it to life successfully.
Execution competencies are built from a relentless pursuit of understanding the human factors of execution and in very intentionally designing systems, processes, and routines that take advantage of the power of human nature and not work against it.
The reality is that we see a critical gap in the organizational understanding of the human factors of strategy execution. Perceptions, behaviors, culture, workflow, and routines can be barriers of resistance or levers for accelerating success in every organization.
It is critical that organizations truly understand these human issues and insightfully focus on the day-to-day drivers of strategy execution. Functions such as Operations truly need to get their “eyes and ears” on the front lines where execution happens. “Probe the business” by looking at the effectiveness of cost, pricing, design, processes, etc., to see if they are driving the right outcomes. If not, determine countermeasures as appropriate. This is not so much an “in” the business issue as it is the ability to truly understand how business is won and how successful work gets done that will help an organization make the right “on” the business decisions as well.