As a businessman since more than 20 years I have seen many hot strategies biting the dust at the time of their execution. If I were to sum it up as to why this happens I would say it’s not what you think that matters but how you think that can make or break successful strategy execution.
People who devise the strategy are not the ones who actually implement them – and therein lies the strategy-execution chasm, which needs to be plugged.
Strategy propagandists have the broad view picture in mind while those responsible for carrying it out are the ones who have to delve into every minute detail of the process.
This difference in approaches tends to make the working relationship an adversary rather than a collaborative thought and execution process.
The second problem is not involving the actual stakeholders in the strategy formulation phase – simply because the leadership might feel they would throw in roadblocks rather than ‘toe the line’ – as leaders are mostly concerned with the ‘destination’ rather than the ‘journey’ part. This is a serious error on part of the top management as my experience shows that involving the stakeholders in the strategy formulation phase not only improves their morale but can lead to practical and time-bound strategy execution processes.
Herein, I might add that the manner in which the strategy is conveyed to all in the company also matters a lot. You have to demonstrate the positives of the strategy once in execution and show how things would be getting better overall.
Fourthly, management often makes the error of taking into consideration only the financial aspects of the strategy execution – factors which can be measured. While this is fine; but it would make better sense to also develop few other quantifiable metrics around the project to monitor its progression real time. In the instance of a new product launch these could be the volumes of preorders, reviews, trial signups etc.
So, to ensure seamless execution of the strategies it would be wiser if the top management adopts a holistic view and makes efforts to bridge the gaps in the thinking and acceptance styles of all stakeholders, along with keeping tabs on quantifiable metrics at all times.