Successfully leading an organization today requires an effective strategy execution framework. Like a tomato plant needs a frame to grow and bear fruit, your organization requires a structure or framework to support your strategy execution. This article will discuss the two aspects of a successful strategy execution framework: clear articulation and operational alignment.
What is a Strategy Execution Framework?
In a strategy execution framework, there are two factors are critical to positioning an organization, department, or team to execute its strategy effectively.
- Clear articulation of what it intends to accomplish and how it will measure success.
- Operational alignment to ensure the right people, processes, and technology are in place to execute successfully.
These steps are integrated and dependent on the other for success. If your strategies are poorly communicated, then all the right people, processes, and technology will fail to execute your organization’s strategy. And vice versa—the most clearly articulated strategy execution will fail if the functional components aren’t in place.
How to Build A Successful Strategy Execution Framework
Step One: Clear Articulation
Many leaders struggle to effectively communicate what they’ve laid out to accomplish as part of a strategy, and often, these leaders fall into two distinct categories. On the one hand are leaders who set aspirational goals that are well out of reach and are detached from how the organization does business. To most in the organization, accomplishing the strategy is simply a ‘pipe dream’ that is out of touch with reality. Even when leaders take the necessary time to communicate their strategy, over time, the strategy becomes background noise as employees continue to focus on their day-to-day work. On the other hand, are the leaders who focus on activity and not outcomes. These leaders encourage employees to complete many tasks but don’t focus on bigger-picture, impactful work to help the organization move into its next phase and ultimately thrive in its evolving business environment. These organizations tend to produce a high volume of work but see incremental, if any, differences in their business. To effectively execute a strategy, organizations must first start with the effective articulation of strategy.
Effective articulation of strategy includes two major components.
- Concise language on what the organization intends to accomplish and how it will measure success.
- A clear understanding by all employees of how their work contributes to accomplishing the strategy.
Many successful organizations have implemented Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) as a tool to measure what must be accomplished and how they will measure success. OKRs are aspirational in nature, providing an avenue to ‘think big’ about what can be accomplished, but they require tangible, measurable outcomes to ensure there is no ambiguity in deciding when the objective has been completed. OKRs are also uniform in nature, making them easy to understand and easy to track progress. Effective leaders take the top 3-5 aspirational strategic goals and create concise statements in the form of OKRs to clearly articulate the organization’s strategy on a page.
Once the strategy is articulated in the form of a strategy on a page, the leaders must effectively communicate it across the organization, departments, and teams. Employees should be encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback to engage with leaders on what’s been shared. Higher levels of engagement during the process of rolling out the strategy will lead to more ownership across employees. With a clear understanding of what the strategy is and how the day-to-day work contributes to accomplishing it, organizations have achieved effective articulation of strategy, the first critical component of effectively executing strategy.
Step Two: Operational Alignment
Operational alignment is essentially giving your employees what they need, ensure you have the correct employees in position, and create or adjust any necessary processes. When employees clearly understand the organization’s objectives, their roles in meeting that objective, and the tools they need to execute their roles successfully, an organization is operating with operational alignment. Now that strategies have been clearly articulated, it’s time to translate them into current objectives related to the OKR. This process includes ensuring that the correct people, processes, and technologies are in place or assessable to your employees. The most clearly articulated strategy is worthless if you don’t have the necessary team of people in place to execute said strategy. Or, if those people are working with outdated or ineffectual processes, this will slow progress. And the right people and processes are worthless without the correct technological tools. Implementing organizational alignment at the more granular level is essential to a strategy execution framework.
Accelare Strategy Execution Consulting
Creating a successful strategy execution framework takes the guesswork out of strategy execution. Let us analyze your strategy execution at any level and assist you in identifying areas where your organization can grow. Together we’ll develop a forward-thinking strategy and identify the tools your organization requires to execute this. Contact us today to get started.