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Struggling with strategy execution? 10 questions to diagnose what’s getting in the way

A strategy, no matter how brilliant it is, remains wishful thinking if not implemented properly. In fact, bringing the strategy to life is the toughest part because it requires alignment and collaboration. Only 34% of large organizations consistently deliver on their strategic objectives, and only 5% of SMEs accomplish their quarterly or yearly business objectives.


While these data points may paint a bleak picture of how successful strategy implementation might be, we are here to help. Below are 10 questions to help you identify the obstacles preventing your team from delivering on the strategy.


1.

Problem: Teams are working in silos and in a chaotic way. They don’t seem aligned and collaborating towards a shared vision.

Ask yourself: Is the strategy of the organization clear to all employees?

It's essential to ensure that all employees understand the company's strategic direction, and how their work contributes to the overall objectives. Ambiguity about where the company is headed leads to misaligned efforts and a lack of focus on achieving the strategy.



2.

P: People are assuming that some initiatives outlined in our strategy aren’t their responsibility. I’ve noticed there is confusion with who is accountable for what.

Do my employees have a clear idea of what their roles and responsibilities are? Ambiguity about roles may lead to duplication of effort or overlooking important strategic initiatives. If roles and responsibilities are clear, employees are 53% more productive and 27% more effective at their jobs.



3.

P: I noticed that initiatives are often incomplete or ignored. Also, many are skipping our strategy check-ins without any repercussions.

Is there a culture of accountability? Creating a culture of accountability is the first step in building trust between leaders and employees. With no accountability, employees will not take ownership of their work, leading to missed deadlines or poor quality of work.



4.

P: Employees are asking for budget approvals for things I already approved. Some are responsible for initiatives but they don’t have the skillset to deliver on those projects.

Does my team have what they need to bring our initiatives to life? Part of developing the strategy is to make sure your team has both the skills and budgets to power your initiatives. If those are not available, employees will get frustrated while trying to deliver on the strategy, and perform poorly.

5.

P: We missed some deadlines on projects that require cross-functional collaboration. There is clear miscommunication and palpable tension between employees.

Are employees working collaboratively?

86% of employees and executives believe that lack of collaboration or ineffective communication is the reason for workplace failures. If team members don’t work collaboratively, it can lead to misunderstandings, conflict and lack of alignment, and poor work performance.



6.

P: Employees aren’t always on the same page when it comes to the company's priorities. I see it in the chat tools they use, and they don’t seem to be taking action when we email them with things they have to do.


Is our internal communication effective? 74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news. Clear communication creates alignment, boosts collaboration, and outlines the way forward. Without a clear internal communication strategy and proper implementation, it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page.



7.

P: We can’t drop the ball on the ambitious plans we have but I’m seeing the same mistakes being repeated over and over again. Despite the fact that I asked leaders to host feedback sessions to help improve performance, there has been no change.

Are my middle managers effectively giving/receiving constructive feedback? 4 out of 10 employees are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback. Without constructive feedback, team members may not be able to grow and improve, which leads to stagnation in performance. Middle managers play a significant role in this process as they act as liaisons between senior leadership and frontline employees, ensuring the implementation of organizational goals.


8.

P: We’re meeting our targets and exceeding the plans we outline in the strategy for the quarter, but no one seems to be celebrating the achievements of the employees driving this success.


Are employees recognized for their contributions? Public recognition is the highest form of praise for employees. If team members are not recognized for their contributions, they become disengaged and lose the motivation to do great work.


9.

P: We set bold, ambitious targets for the year, but I don’t feel that employees are comfortable taking risks for fear of making mistakes. They stick to the brief and traditional ways of working.

Is there a sense of psychological safety within the team? Trust in a team creates a psychologically safe environment where employees are not afraid to make mistakes and take initiative. Without trust, team members may not be willing to collaborate, take risks, or support one another.


10.

P: We know our goals, but the way we come together to deliver on them is disjointed. As a global organization, I worry that our culture and values do not transcend our HQ office and align to the teams in other country markets.

Are all employees aligned with the organization's values?

Studies show positive correlations between organizational values and firm profitability. If team members don't work under the same company values, it can lead to conflict and a lack of engagement.

If these questions and scenarios are on your mind -you are not alone. Diagnosing what is preventing teams from delivering on the strategy is something that keeps many leaders up at night. If you want our help in diagnosing and solving your challenges, check our blueprint for growth and book your 1-on-1 consultation today.




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