Communication and follow-up are both essential parts of strategy execution. Yet, it’s something that is often forgotten or down-prioritized.
Too many companies fail with their strategy execution. We have shared a number of factors that we see are contributing reasons why so many companies are unable to carry out their strategies within the organization; time, goal setting, and operational and behavioral drives. Now, we will look at communication and follow-up, and more specifically, how it differs between the methods Traditional strategy execution and Strategy acceleration.
Traditional Strategy Execution
We Communicate Poorly
Most companies we meet say that communication is difficult. Our experience is that the communication that is happening is far from enough, in the wrong channels, and not targeted to the audience. In the best of cases, a superficial communication plan is created and there is an over-reliance that this plan will be enough to get everyone on board. There is a lack of understanding in how to get buy-in, anchoring the strategy to ensure that everybody assimilates the new strategy. It makes it impossible for the employee to understand how they can contribute to the execution if they do not know why nor how to do this.
Communication and Anchoring are Part of the Process
In strategy acceleration, we do not talk about communication. We use the concept of anchoring instead. Anchoring means to go one step further than just communicating. Anchoring means that the sender also takes responsibility to make sure the receiver has understood and assimilated the message and wants to be part of the work. Instead of making a communication plan at the start of the process and from time to time ‘portion out’ communication to different target groups in different channels, it’s better to build in anchoring into the process itself. This way communication is integrated and becomes something that is done continuously.
Communication is crucial throughout the execution process but might be of even bigger importance after the process is completed.
Let us dive into the Follow-up!
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Traditional Strategy Execution
In most companies, there are processes for following up on achieved targets and effects. If the strategy’s target is to increase revenue by 50% in 3 years, you measure the revenue—in other words, the result and what has already happened. Measuring only the result becomes reactive. You carry out a lot of planned activities and think that this will make the company reach the targets. Often, what is measured is whether something has been “done” or “not done”. And when the activities are done, it is hoped that the result will be according to the planned goals. But a lot of times this does not happen. Traditional strategy execution lacks a way to measure progress, i.e. that we are moving in the right direction and doing the right things. To measure only the result is not enough—we also have to measure our movement towards the goal. We also notice that the tools the companies are using for following up on the strategy activities are sub-standard. Excel, PowerPoint, and similar software are used to set up a list of goals and activities, who is responsible, and the date of completion.
Measuring Results and Progress
In strategy acceleration, we always talk about steering and measuring through the whole process. We base this on the assumption that it is not enough to only measure results — it is of equal importance to find ways to measure the process and the steps we take towards the goal. We measure the progress of the activities that “make it happen”. It is all about steering towards the goal by always doing the activities that contribute the most – to the exact goal.
Steer and measure – the heart in strategy acceleration.
Strategy acceleration is constantly steering and measuring the execution of the strategy. Having clear steering through the whole acceleration and being able to measure that we are moving towards the goal, is the hub in the whole process. With steering, we mean steering towards the most important goals and the activities that lead us to the goal. To continuously measure that we reach the goals becomes like caring for and taking the pulse on the process. Making sure that the heart is beating as it should and that everything is developing in the right direction. Every week there is measuring to see that activities are done according to the set plan. How this is done in practice will be described in later posts.
We have explained the difference between traditional strategy execution and strategic acceleration in this and previous posts (time, goal setting, and operational and behavioral drives). We hope this has made you curious and that you want to learn more about how to actually do this.
If you have followed us all the way here you know what it is that makes companies fail with their strategies and what is needed to succeed. Now the time has come for the really interesting part—how do we do it? What does the strategy acceleration method look like? In the following posts, we will explain, in as much detail and as easily accessible as possible, how this method for strategic acceleration works. You will notice that the factors we have described above as important to succeed runs like a red thread through the whole method.
Follow us into the wonderful world of strategy acceleration. We promise you will be better qualified to really succeed with your strategy if you do. And we promise that your view on how strategies should be executed will be transformed forever.
In the next blog post, we’ll dig into the insight and decision process. Stay tuned!
Continue reading the Strategy Acceleration blog series
This blog series is based on the book “Strategy Acceleration”. It is made for everyone that wants to learn how to execute and to realize your company strategy. It will give you the practical know-how to transform your strategy from words on a piece of paper into real everyday action.