Back in 2007 the American Management Association  conducted a study which defined “strategy” and “strategy execution” as:
“strategy, “a major plan that an organization makes to attain a defined and positive business goal,” and strategy execution, “the process of implementing such plans and achieving such goals.”
They also stated back then that “strategy execution” is an evolving art. The research also showed many good strategic plans failed because of ineffective execution and that companies skilled in
execution approaches are more likely to be successful.
There are a whole host of reasons why ineffective execution takes place – inadequate resources both in capability and capacity; weak leadership; lack of clarity of the strategy; lack of alignment around goals (with company mission, organisational goals etc); slow decision-making; employee engagement and technological changes. The report makes interesting reading as it makes assumptions for the future a decade away – today!
Fast forward to 2014 and PwC produce a report  which states that 55% of executives believe their companies aren’t focused on executing their strategies. 42% believe part of the problem is alignment and 42% are concerned that their employees are working on too many and often conflicting priorities.
Similarly a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2013  entitled ‘Why Good Strategies Fail – Lessons for the C-suite’ also highlighted the resource challenge, “Only 41% of respondents say their companies provide sufficiently skilled personnel to implement high-priority strategic initiatives.”
The American Management Association’s assumptions for the present day included the impact of globalisation on an organisation’s strategies; the changes in organisational structures; there will be perfection in human capital management; powerful technologies will exist to aid strategy execution and organisation’s will be better equip to deal with change and disruption. Indeed “organisation’s will need to be agile and resilient”, an interesting assumption from back in 2007.
Fast forward again to 2017 and the 5th December specifically and the Why Strategy Execution Should be Top Priority For Leaders – Yet Often Gets Ignored webinar from Antonio Rodriguez who shares further research on strategy execution as we continue in our quest to understand the difficulties organisations still face and how to overcome them. Strategy execution as an evolving art gets a brush stroke on the 5th December.