In short, strategy is all about execution. The corporate landscape is littered with failed companies that had great strategies but failed to execute them. Effective strategy execution can itself be a significant source of competitive advantage, and i4cp's research shows that high-performance organizations are much better in this area than other companies.
The People-Profit Chain™ from i4cp identified the top strategy KPIs that correlate to market performance and found that for high performance, companies must:
1) Align executive behavior to the strategy
Research reveals that the behavior of executives is crucial--it sets the tone and reinforces important values and ways of acting--in effect, by leading through example. What separates a high-performance organization from the rest is not only how strategy is communicated, but how it is carried out. The key ingredient is consistency.
Read: Are Your Executives Truly Aligned to the Strategy?
2) Align middle manager behavior to strategy
Middle managers have the ability to destroy strategy; they also have the ability to turn strategy into revenue. i4cp's research into high-performance organizations found that one of the KPIs most highly correlated with market performance is the alignment of middle managers to the business strategy.
Read: 4 Ways to Help Middle Managers Get the Job Done
3) Formulate a high-quality strategy and plan
The typical workforce is good enough to execute business strategy; however, there's a pretty good chance that it won't.
Read: Is Your Workforce Good Enough to Execute the Business Strategy?
4) Align strategy with business goals and objectives
Creating and sustaining a corporate environment of shared values--one that is collaborative and truly cohesive--is no small feat, particularly for companies operating across continents and cultures. The enormity of taking on the charge of uniting a global workforce into one that shares the sense of a single community seems overwhelming, but some companies are exploring outside-the-box options--and seeing fantastic results.
Read: Collaboration and Shared Values
5) Ensure that everyone understands and buys into the strategy
Any time communication is brought up in a business setting, it's a lot like having a car engine stop working--it's an easy problem to diagnose, but a hard problem to fix. Poor organizational communication can be a similar issue. Nearly everyone wants their goal progress to be communicated transparently and regularly, yet the survey data suggests that this isn't always done.Read: Do Your Employees Really Understand the Business Strategy?
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