How many times have you seen businesses fall short on delivering and sustaining results? Research shows us that the failure is not usually the result of poor strategy; failure is usually the result of poor strategy execution.
“Organisations often fail to execute their strategy-failure rates may range as high as 60 to 90 percent.”
– Kaplan and Norton, Harvard Business School
Let’s face it, we all fall short of our target every now and again, it’s just part of life. So, perhaps the better question to ask is how can we improve our performance? I have pondered this daunting question for much of my career and would like to humbly share some of my findings and observations based on years of study and experience gained while working on many successful projects at companies like Procter & Gamble, NCR, Delta Air Lines, Verizon, Merck & Co, ING and Coca-Cola.
Almost without exception, both successful people and organisations seem to have a few things in common:
Those that consistently succeed tend to plan their work and then they work their plan following a strict and consistent approach; they follow a methodology. Regardless of industry or company size, this seems to be a key formula for success. Think of the converse; without clear vision and direction, and a system for getting things done, we all seem to drift along, aimlessly consuming our most finite and precious gift … our time.I have had the privilege of meeting and working with some extraordinary leaders and organisations. Through my experiences, I have come to believe that there is a common approach to improving performance which consists of three distinct elements of work: Strategy Formulation, Strategy Execution, and Measuring Results. Simply stated, Strategy Formulation is the process of defining what you are going to do in no uncertain terms, outlining the tactics for how you are going to do it, and determining your measures of success. Strategy Execution can be described as putting your Strategy Formulation plan into action by actually taking the steps required to achieve your objectives (i.e., doing the work). Measuring Performance which can be described as keeping track of where you are on the journey from your current state to your desired state and taking corrective action as appropriate to keep you moving toward your objectives. This approach has been proven to lead to sustained success over time.
As with everything in life, there are no guarantees of success; however, if you follow the above, your probability of success will dramatically increase.
Measuring results seem to transcend to levels that can be understood across many barriers such as types of work, sports, languages, geographic regions, race, etc.
So, how can you get started integrating these concepts into your business? Here are some key steps for becoming a performance-driven organisation:
Step 1) Define your Desired Outcomes in clear and compelling terms
Step 2) Assess Where you are today and Why you want to change
Step 3) Build your Roadmap to Success. Define how you are going to achieve your goals and create a plan
Step 4) Quantify the investment required and the return expected
Step 5) Understand the consequences of your actions
Step 6) Establish a balanced scorecard metrics to track performance
Step 7) Commit to your approach and start executing the plan
Step 8) Create an accountability system to manage performance
Step 9) Make course corrections along your journey to your desired destination
Step 10) Become a Learning Organization that learns from failure and builds on success
Be intentional, foster a culture of unwavering commitment, focus on your Desired Outcome and remember…
Results don’t happen by accident, results live at the intersection of a compelling Strategy and focused Execution!
Bill Price is the EVP of Business Development at ProArch. You can reach him at billp@ProArch.com