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Hasse Jansen, 03 Nov '16

9 Stats That Prove Strategy Execution is Difficult, and How to Improve

The numbers show leaders struggle to execute strategy. Here’s why all 9 challenges interconnect and how to align strategy execution organization wide.

Your business card may read “Marketing Strategist” or “CMO”, but how much time do you actually spend strategizing? Stats say…

85% of leadership teams spend less than 1 hour per month discussing strategy

If doing something one hour per month gets you an official title, most of us could also put ‘plumber’, ‘roof mechanic’ or ‘painter’ on our business cards. In reality, most strategists have become the ‘firefighters’ they wanted to be when they were young.

Most strategists have become the ‘firefighters’ they wanted to be when they were young Click To Tweet

But the charm of being a firefighter 10 hours a day wears off quickly. Emergencies pop up everywhere. Every cry for help is of the highest priority. There are just too many fronts to fight on. Choose your battles carefully to end up victorious.

76% of successful companies focus on a limited number of strategic initiatives to reach their objectives

When the new company strategy was presented, it surely looked promising. But it isn’t always clear which of the items on your to-do list on Tuesday morning would actually help you get close to achieving that strategy.

61% acknowledge that their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation

Meanwhile, leaders from other departments face the exact same problem. You could walk down the hall to ask how things are going over there. But that would be more likely to double your problems than to be the start of a productive collaboration.

30% cite failure to coordinate across units as the single greatest challenge to executing their company’s strategy

 Chances are you’ll have to make the best of strategy implementation more or less on your own. It’ll be difficult to reach the majority of strategy objectives, but luckily you’re not alone thinking that.

 2% of leaders are confident that they will achieve 80-100% of their strategy’s objectives

Although you may not be able to achieve all of your objectives, at least you know what they mean. Which the stats say doesn’t hold for everybody…

95% of employees do not understand their organization's strategy

Then again, you can’t blame anybody for not knowing what the palm trees and a turquoise ocean on the postcard look like when the photo book is kept behind closed doors.

42% of managers and 27% of employees get access to the strategic plan

And in all fairness, middle managers and front-line employees don’t really need to know where they’re going as long as they keep their vehicle running. Keeping the operation running as is will get them the money needed to fund their own holidays, somewhere far away from the destination on the company’s postcard.

70% of middle managers and more than 90% of front-line employees have compensation that is not linked to the strategy

Vehicles that brought you to past destinations may not be able to propel you into the future. And the good news is, some companies are beginning to recognize that and act upon it.

64% of successful companies build their budget based on their strategy, rather than on past behaviors

Actually reaching a new and exciting destination requires companies to invent new and exciting vehicles. And the good thing is, we believe we’ve built that!

Making Strategy Execution Easy

Reading through these stats might not have brightened your day just yet. But since we’ve started using quotes…

“Acknowledging the problem is half the solution…”

Now we know exactly what makes strategy execution difficult, we know what we need to make easier. We believe the easiest way to take strategy execution to the next level is using the Boardview Growth map.

“…Using Boardview is the other half”

The Boardview Growth Map shows which goals are being pursued and how they relate to each other, from top to bottom, and between units and departments. It shows how performing tasks and pursuing small goals get you closer to achieving your postcard destination, and how your goals relate to other departments’ goals.

Boardview Growth Map tree deal maker

Every employee will be able to view the Growth Map whenever they want, and everyone will be able to make sense of the strategy at a glance thanks to the tree structure and its color scheme. That way everyone will be able to set their own goals in line with strategy… so strategists can be strategists again, not firefighters.

Try it now!