Strategy sets the way forward, but there are so many ways for it to be misinterpreted or mistranslated. Poor project management especially interrupts strategic value realization. In a post for Strategy Execution, Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez identifies three actions that can reorient businesses to more fully make good on their strategy:
- Align organizational structure with the organization’s changing reality.
- Introduce governance to support execution of the strategy.
- Improve company-wide focus.
Chasing a Strategy
Just like you cannot command a cat to fly, you cannot command an organization to follow a strategy that does not fit the structure of the organization. Misunderstanding this reality causes many projects to fail. So what you need to do is abolish silo mentalities in departments and rework metrics so that departments become interdependent on each other. After all, strategic projects are necessarily cross-departmental, so departments must be oriented to work together.
Strong governance will be needed to ensure that changes in organizational structure and mentality stick:
Today’s governing structure … needs a role – a department even – to take responsibility for the strategic, cross-departmental projects, as well as take a consolidated overview of the progress of strategy execution, and most importantly, flag up when the strategy is not being correctly executed.
Although the CEO, together with the executive board, are ultimately responsible for all company initiatives, the reality is that today, most companies still lack the clearly assigned responsibilities for effective companywide strategy execution; and this is why such initiatives often fail.
A general lack of focus is another overlooked factor that undermines strategy execution. Nieto-Rodriguez identifies three particular reasons why businesses lose focus:
- Executives do not know their own organization’s key strategic initiatives.
- Focus requires discipline.
- There are just too many projects to stay focused.
The second two points are somewhat straightforward, but that first point is particularly worrying. Nieto-Rodriguez says he has facilitated workshops with many senior management teams and often found that there is no accurate consensus on what a business’s major strategic initiatives are. Is your senior management team characterized by that same confusion? If so, that confusion is going to poison everything that follows.
For a longer discussion, you can view the original post here: http://www.esi-intl.co.uk/blogs/pmoperspectives/index.php/why-strategic-failures-are-increasing-and-how-to-prevent-it/