Successful strategy execution has been a challenge for many organizations. Recently, I read an interesting article on this issue entitled Six Disciplines to execute your strategy, published in PBN.com. The author, Jim Crisafulli, starts the article with the definition: Strategy execution – two powerful words that should rightfully be addressed together (synonymously), however are often (business) worlds apart. Unfortunately, strategy (what needs to be done) and execution (getting it done!) are more mutually exclusive to each other than they should be.
He lists some challenges of executing strategy: One of the many challenges is changing behavior. Executing strategy requires a rather large commitment by senior management to change the organization’s behavior. By doing so, business leaders can go back to that binder with the strategic documents and develop their goals by assigning responsibility, defining measures and targets, and deciding on projects that really become one year change initiatives. Another challenge is the lack of accountability, he says. We all know how difficult it is to improve anything we do without some type of coaching. The most successful athletes engage with a coach to work with for improvement, accountability and ultimately achievement of their goals. Self -eadership requires support and coaching.
If an organization is committed to strategy execution, then they should at least consider an engagement with a business coach trained specifically in strategy execution, he says. He mentions a company located in Findlay, Ohio that developed a methodology for strategy execution. One of the components of their program is working with a business coach, specialized in the Six Disciplines methodology.
The Six Disciplines software and methodology is the day-to-day tool that this company uses to improve the effectiveness of their goal setting, level of communication and measure progress against the goals. Six Disciplines introduced a new way to think about operating and changing a business by focusing on the following:
• Discipline I – Decide what’s important.
• Discipline II – Set goals that lead.
• Discipline III – Align systems.
• Discipline IV – Work the plan.
• Discipline V – Innovate purposefully.
• Discipline VI – Step back.
This company has recognized the following benefits from using Six Disciplines:
• Significant time savings.
• Improved focus.
• Improved operational consistency – developed standard operating procedures in all departments.
• Continuing improvements in customer service levels.
• Improved communication between sales and operations that has resulted in enhanced management of materials and works in process.
• Sales increased over one year during a recessionary period.
• An enthused group of associates, whose positive influence is beginning to filter through the rest of the company, supported by the leadership team.
He finishes with the statement: Maintaining the proper balance between strategy and execution is a difficult challenge. Organizational leaders that choose to address this challenge should know that many quality programs are available, one of which is the Six Disciplines methodology.
Success in strategy execution is a combination of many things. That is an interesting methodology to help organizations to execute strategy.
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