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 strategyResearch 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.
2) Align middle manager behavior to strategyMiddle 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.
3) Formulate a high-quality strategy and planThe typical workforce is good enough to execute business strategy; however, there's a pretty good chance that it won't.
4) Align strategy with business goals and objectivesCreating 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.
5) Ensure that everyone understands and buys into the strategyAny 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?