5 Tips To Gain The Execution Edge

Time and again research by leading business schools like Harvard and consulting firms like McKinsey state that between 60 – 90% of corporate strategy fails. While formulating a strategy is vital to get results, this alone is insufficient. An organization’s ability to implement strategy and do it well, will determine the success of the strategy. But how can one create this ability to execute? How can an organization gain the ‘Execution Edge’?

Based on our experience of last 30 years helping organizations get the execution edge, here are 5 tips to improve the quality of the execution.

1.    Do a thorough job of formulating strategy. Often we have seen that executives do not work out the strategy in detail. It is important to pay attention to assumptions. Do the math properly. Interview your sales people as part of the research- they know their customers well. Put down the plan in details. Don’t assume or presume, rather test your strategy.

2.    Have a plan to resolve the challenges that may come up. Anticipate problems and plan solutions. Focus on implementation issues, results that do not match estimates, market response, competitive reaction, other industry specific challenges that could crop up and work out ideas to overcome them.

3.    Keep the communication simple. It is easy to get lost in jargon but for maximum impact keep the communication simple and understandable. Remember, strategy has to first be understood by the internal customers – your front line sales people.

4.    Culture eats strategy for breakfast (Peter Drucker). Ensure prioritization of key activities amidst the whirlwind of daily routine activities that have to be done. Pay attention to the management of change; build a culture of discipline, good governance, achievement and ownership. 

5.    Focus on fundamentals. This cannot be emphasized enough. Ensure the strategy does not get lost in the midst of the day-to-day routines. We need to be uncompromising in our focus on the essentials of generating results. Reward and support the behavior needed to execute the strategy.

The reality is that there is no quick fix to superior strategy execution. To get the execution edge, you need to revisit every element of your strategy continually. A poorly conceived strategy can’t be saved by excellent execution. Remember that good strategy comes first- it is essential to execution.