For success in battling external threats, execution of strategy that’s objectively measured and fine-tuned is critical. Execution, in fact, is more important than the strategy itself.
Multiple solutions might work to triumph over a threat, but a global study in 20 sectors in 20 countries shows execution trumps strategy.
“Drawing attention to competitive threats catalyzes employees,” says AMA’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeremey Donovan.
“Of course, this must be done with care in order to balance negative effects such as job security concerns,” he adds.
It’s accomplished with innovation and risk-taking.
But senior management is successful in linking strategy with external and internal realities by effectively communicating with talent in operations using technology.
A salient challenge is to avoid a culture of fear.
“Consider a hot new product launch by a close competitor. In order to respond effectively, employees need to have a clear enough mind to innovate,” explains Mr. Donovan.
He says there’s more footwork.
To execute strategy for market performance, the study recommends four strategies:
— Visible support from leadership
— Regular communication of progress to employees
— Recognizing execution as a top corporate priority
— Focusing on a common threat without creating a culture of fear
Execution is so important that some companies fail to capitalize on strategy that would ordinarily work
“Excellent strategies fail all the time because leadership fails to engage with employees, observe behaviors and find out why people act the way they do,” says i4cp Senior Research Analyst Cliff Stevenson.
He makes good sense. I’d also add savvy employers know how to profit from their human capital. Such knowledge is a powerful weapon for high performance in a competitive marketplace.
To meet threats head-on, there’s a correlation among excellent sales, happy customers, and high employee morale. Proverbially speaking, employees are where the tire meets the road. So, it’s key to motivate employees to offer profitable ideas.
“Drawing attention to competitive threats catalyzes employees.”
“Leaders need to do more than communicate expectations; they need to find out what’s driving behavior and why,” adds Mr. Stevenson.
My sense is effective bosses have antennas to alert them over looming challenges. If they don’t have such an antenna, it’s important for them to develop one for multiple credibility reasons.
Even the bosses of small companies can suffer from image problems externally and internally. Either one or both will adversely affect profits. During adversity, you need a plan to motivate employees.
To focus on a common threat and to execute strategy, the study reveals what’s needed are three leadership behaviors:
- Regularly discuss relevant industry and competitor developments with the team.
- Ensure the organization has broad strategies and plans that address changing market conditions and client needs, and create competitive advantage.
- Market the strategy internally to employees, showing the customer value proposition, to gain buy-in and an understanding of the relevancy of external threats.
“Execution trumps strategy, and this is true regardless of industry, organization size or structure,” concludes Mr. Stevenson.
Agreed; employee participation is crucial. It takes a team approach to succeed with your strategic plan.
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“Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.”
-W. C. Fields