15 facts about strategy execution

Strategy execution is a crucial business domain. It’s something every leader should focus on. Unfortunately, strategy execution is often misunderstood. People think it’s all about action plans or operations. In this article, I would like to share with you a short video about the essence of strategy execution and 15 strategy execution facts I believe everyone should know.

What is strategy execution: a definition

This short video explains what strategy execution is all about.

15 Facts about strategy execution

  1. Strategy Execution is a vast area with blurred borders. It includes several processes – from budgeting to evaluating individual objectives and involves all functional domains.
  2. Strategy Execution is a discipline of its own. Making strategy work isn’t the same as strategy making. It’s a different game with its own rules, potential pitfalls and best practices
  3. Strategy Execution involves everyone. From the CEO to the blue-collar worker, everyone is involved in executing the strategy. Their roles might be different, but all individuals contribute to the organization’s execution effort.
  4. Strategy Execution takes time. You can build a strategy in a few weeks (or months at the most) but the execution can take several years. It’s a sprint versus a marathon. Strategy Execution Quotes 3Figure 1:
  5. Strategy Execution demands short- and long-term thinking. While executing, you need to manage your long-term implementation plan and worry about the nitty-gritty actions you will take tomorrow.
  6. Strategy Execution demands a specific set of behaviours and techniques that companies need to master to have a competitive advantage. It’s a discipline of its own. (Charan & Bossidy, Execution)

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  7. Great Strategy Execution requires a great strategy. It cannot exist without it. Great execution can never compensate for a poor strategy.
  8. Strategy Execution isn’t something you worry about after you have already finished crafting your strategy. You need to think about the implementation challenges at the same time you design your strategy.
  9. Strategy Execution has a strong timing sequence. You don’t do everything at the same time. One thing happens before the other, and the order is important.Strategy Execution Quotes 1 Figure 2:
  10. Strategy Execution requests a seamless integration between organizational and individual performance. You can look at performance from either an organizational or an individual perspective. But to realize your strategy, a connection between both is crucial.
  11. Strategy Execution is a big performance gap in most organizations. According to Harvard Business Review, companies lose between 40-to-60 per cent of their strategic potential during the execution phase.
  12. In many organizations, Strategy Execution is still a black box. You throw your strategy in one end and performance comes out the other end.Strategy Execution Quotes 2 Figure 3:
  13. Strategy Execution asks for measurement. Organizations need to start by understanding in more detail where the Strategy Execution process leaks performance. A benchmark can help tremendously.
  14. It takes time to build Strategy Execution capabilities. Small organizations should count on 18 months to become best-in-class. For a large multinational, it can take up to three years to get there. Your measurement approach should take the long-term into account.
  15. A simple Strategy Execution process like the 8 Model orients managers to take the right actions at the right time.

More organizations than ever are failing to close the gap between strategy and operational activity, with a lack of alignment and community over delivering strategic success. What is the cost in real terms? Click here to view an ROI of Strategy Execution infographic.

About the author

Jeroen De Flander is one of the world’s most influential thinkers on strategy execution and a highly regarded keynote speaker. He has shared the stage with prominent thinkers like Michael Porter, Costas Markides, Roger Martin, Robert Kaplan & David Norton and helped more than 23,500 managers in 35+ countries master the necessary execution skills.

His first book Strategy Execution Heroes reached the Amazon bestseller list in 5 countries and was nominated for Management Book of the Year 2012 in the Netherlands. His second book, The Execution Shortcut, reached the #3 spot in its category on Amazon.

Jeroen is co-founder of the performance factory – a leading research, training, and advisory firm focused solely on helping individuals and organizations increase performance through best-in-class strategy execution.

He has worked with several business schools including London Business School, IMD, Vlerick, Solvay, and Tias. For several years, he was the responsible manager worldwide of the Balanced Scorecard product line for Arthur D. Little, a leading strategy consulting firm.

He has advised 75+ companies including Atos Worldline, AXA, Bridgestone, Brussels Airport, CEMEX, Credit Suisse, GDFSUEZ, Honda, ING, Johnson & Johnson, Komatsu, Nike and Sony on various strategy and strategy execution topics.