The planning season is upon us. Visions and missions are being reconsidered. New goals and objectives are being defined. Strategies and action plans are being developed.
When the planning turns to strategy execution, before finalizing action steps, success metrics, barriers, and resource allocation, consider if the company can commit to implementing the strategy. And since changing circumstances ensure that few strategies survive without adaptation, consider how that commitment may be challenged if the need arises to refine the strategy.
At its core, strategy execution is a change management issue. Leaders may develop strategy, but it’s the company’s people who execute it. People commit to implementing a strategy after they have:
- Gained a clear understanding about why it is important for the business, what changes will result, and what projected benefits are expected for the company and for them;
- Assessed how well the strategy and its benefits align with the company’s culture – its purpose and values – and how much they trust leadership to deliver those benefits while preserving the culture; and
- Determined that their implementation efforts can be meaningful, that their work will be appreciated and can make a difference in helping the company and themselves progress.
The impact that a company’s culture has on strategy execution is evident in each of these three
conditions; culture might be the common denominator of commitment. So, the ability of a business to commit to a strategy depends on the strength of its culture, as well as the competency of its leadership.
When evaluating your cultural strength, consider:
- If your company’s values support your purpose, and are defined by related, expected behaviors;
- If the outcomes of these behaviors are quantifiable, i.e., what benefits have values like customer satisfaction, initiative, collaboration, and innovation delivered for your business?
- If your assessment of performance links goal achievement with how consistently these behaviors are demonstrated within the business, revealing how deeply your culture impacts your progress; and
- If your culture enables or constrains strategy implementation, i.e., does your culture strengthen the personal relationships within your business community that nurture the commitment and shared accountability required for effective strategy execution?
How strong is your company’s commitment to the execution of your strategies?