It is not the planning that fails. It’s the implementation where the problem lies.
As Professor Charles Hampden-Turner used to say to reinforce this point: “A strategic plan always works on the spreadsheet.” That was in 1991, during my MBA. Executives widely understand that a well-thought-through strategic plan is the backbone of any successful organisation when implemented and brings about the desired outcomes. Yet, over thirty years later, the difficulty with implementing strategy still exists. It is so pervasive that it has a name, the strategy-execution gap! This article identifies how modern management techniques like agile and using OKRs can help jump the strategy-execution gap and make strategy a reality.
The root causes of the strategy-execution gap.
Analysis of strategic execution challenges shows that a lack of alignment, poor communication, rigid plans, the pursuit of too many opportunities, a lack of focus on delivery, poor execution follow-through and use of metrics are root causes of failed strategies.
Modern management techniques like agile and using OKRs naturally facilitate the fulfilment of organisational strategic goals. They encourage communication, customer focus, employee engagement, empirical control, and continual adjustment of the plan based on the evidence of outcomes. In addition, using these processes and approaches provides the considerable advantage of collecting metrics and enables visibility across all business activities. Best of all, modern management techniques are as applicable to business-as-usual activities as they are to business change.