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Aligning strategy with work activity to reduce the performance gap

Strategy making and execution are essential to organisational success. However, many organisations are continuously challenged by the performance gap that exists between the two.

Over the years, research has shown a good deal of time and resources are spent building strategies, but when these strategies are translated into project-based work (the projects, programmes and portfolio efforts that enable forward momentum) there is a break down – resulting in failure to achieve the organisation’s strategy.

In order to bridge the gap there needs to be alignment between strategy making and strategy execution. In other words, between the strategic goals and the projects selected to execute these goals.

Successful alignment and execution of project-based work requires a strong mix of skills from the following two distinct categories:

Technical skills – the ability to perform a specific job function or task, such as documenting a plan as part of a project or programme management role.

Relational skills – how people interact with and analyse information, forging personal relationships, strategic thinking and change management approaches which lead a project or programme’s execution.

An organisation needs to recognise where the skills gaps are – whether they are on the technical side in the form of project performance, budget management or governance issues, or whether these are on the relational side in the form of challenges with communication, situational analysis or customer satisfaction.

Only by identifying these gaps will organisations be able to invest in upskilling and empowering their project teams.

Having team members with a strong balance of both skill sets will allow them to see, understand and communicate the context of the strategies driving their project-based work, as well as the organisation’s strategic intent. And, most importantly, how the two fit together.

Team members will be able to make decisions and take actions based on situational context—while still being able to drill down and get the work accomplished – something which is becoming ever more crucial in today’s ever-changing VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment.

To this end, Strategy Execution has partnered with Duke Corporate Education to equip project-based leaders with the skills to better manage this complexity – in which organisations need to adapt project-based work to make it smarter and faster, if they are to drive success.

The Adaptive Strategic Execution Programme (ASEP) has been purposefully designed to provide project-based workers with the mind-set, tool set and skill set to execute critical projects with its eight essential curriculum topics.)

The more skilled a workforce is at navigating these challenges, the greater and faster the impact.

Combining the right skills within this context also gives team members a more holistic perspective to strategy making, execution and alignment, making it even more adaptive and successful.

When organisations fail at the critical stage of strategy execution alignment, they are invariable slow to market with innovative solutions, decreasing their competitive advantage and losing market share.

In our related blog article, How to accelerate projects that drive innovation and success, we discuss how the discipline of project management drives the ability to achieve greater success, faster – and how, if project teams are not equipped with the skills needed to execute strategy-driven projects, fundamental organisational changes (like faster, go to market initiatives) are much less likely to occur.

Today’s business climate requires project-based work to be executed with more coordination and agility than ever before. People at all levels of the organisation are being asked to take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities.

Empowering team members to fulfill this leadership need, as well as enabling leadership at all levels, drives innovation, breaks down barriers and enables organisations to proactively identify and resolve issues that can impact on strategic objectives. It also helps makes organisations more versatile and dexterous.

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About Rebecca Leitch

Rebecca Leitch
Rebecca Leitch is a marketeer at TwentyEighty Strategy Execution - focused on bringing new project management content for the PM community.

Discover the new Adaptive Strategic Execution Programme

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