Most CEOs and business leaders have their business plans complete well ahead of the next operating year, let alone their kick-off meeting. However, planning is just one part. You can probably agree that the best-laid strategies of any organization are useless without proper implementation.
How Will Your Company Make a Bigger Impact?
That being said, strategies are often far from straightforward, because a corporate strategy is by its nature conceptual and often complex. In a recent study from the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by the Project Management Institute, 61% of respondents acknowledge that their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and day-to-day implementation. Moreover, in the last three years, an average of just 56% of strategic initiatives have been successful. Such poor implementation means that a company’s stated strategy fails to shape what happens in practice: only a small minority of respondents say that their business model is extremely well aligned with strategy. Not surprisingly, companies that are poorly aligned with their strategy also report weaker financial results than their peers.
Most companies have likely already had a 2020 kick-off meeting, but now is an important step. Following up, and following through with the plans you laid out.
Best Practices to Help Us Stay on Track
Survey respondents say the number-one reason for the success of strategic initiatives at their organization is leadership buy-in and support. Yet 50% of people who participated in the PMI study said that strategy implementation does not receive C-suite attention.
Rather than micromanaging, C-suite executives should identify and focus on the key initiatives and projects that are strategically relevant. Let your assigned team members focus on the details.
Ensure you have the infrastructure to support the implementation of your key initiatives. This may mean hiring the right staff, or perhaps hiring an interim executive(s) who have the specific skills or leadership ability you need and who will provide the focused energy to implement your strategic initiatives.
Incorporate feedback mechanisms along the way. That way, you know you are on track with the initiatives being implemented and can monitor your progress.
See Your Plan Through
If you can keep these best practices in place throughout the year, you can prepare to reap the rewards. Of the companies that implement these best practices, 65% also report much better financial performance than their peers. Don’t be the 18% that doesn’t!