Since you have taken my profit margin assessment, you know which areas of your organization will provide you with the biggest and the best opportunities for growth and increased profitability. Now you have to do something about it.
Execution of the right strategy is what separates the most successful organizations from the rest. Your focus needs to move from the development of the strategy to alignment of your daily operations and tactics with that strategy. Aligning strategy and tactics is not about activities on a project or implementation plan. It’s about ensuring that employees know their roles and what is expected of them to help the organization achieve its strategy.
Aligning your strategy and tactics is important, but you also need to become experts at execution. Executing effectively on your strategy and plan is what differentiates the great organizations from everyone else. Great organizations are able to make things happen quickly and effectively. They are able to turn ideas into commercially viable products. They can turn opportunities into profit increases. They can turn words on paper into results. Mastering strategy execution requires equilibrium among three components: prioritization, accountability and harmonization.
An organization needs to be able to prioritize the activities it plans to work on. It needs to know which activities are most crucial to its success so that time and resources are not wasted on tactics that do not add value. Prioritization helps the organization determine who does what and when.
Accountability means that an organization is clear on what needs to be measured in order to show success and who is accountable for that success. Employees need to know what results are expected of them so that they can align their actions with those expected results.
When key pieces of the activities being performed are aligned to the same goal—the strategy the organization has laid out—that is harmony. Without that alignment, the organization will be moving in several directions at the same time. It’s like an orchestra in which the musicians are each playing different music instead of the same piece.
Where would you plot yourself on this figure? If you are not in area #4, where priority, accountability and harmony intersect, then you need to keep on reading.
How to Achieve Execution Excellence
Let’s assume that we all want to become masters of execution so that we can get things done and done well. Organizations need to do several things to master that skill.
- Have a Clear Strategy.
- Develop an Execution Plan.
- Set Clear Expectations.
- Establish Appropriate Metrics.
- Review Performance Regularly.
- Constantly Review Your Strategy.
- Establish Accountability.
I will expand on each of these in my next article, so stay tuned.Andrew Miller helps organizations find money and performance boosts in areas they don't normally look. His clients include 3M, McKesson, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, The Bank of Nova Scotia, and many other organizations. His book, "Redefining Operational Excellence: New Strategies for Maximizing Performance and Profits Across the Organization" is available here.