Connecting with Your Company’s Strategy

From HBR & Service Rocket

Communicating important messages and inspiring people into coordinated action is a major challenge for executives.   Research shows that only 14% of employees understand their company’s strategy.  Gallup offers a final crushing blow to this reality showing that only 41% understand the overall company direction.  This execution gap is holding your company back

Stephen Covey makes this point strikingly clear.  He talks about an execution gap that organizations experience when people do not understand the goals and what they can do to help achieve those goals.  Covey cites a study that shows:

  1. Only 15% of employees understand the organization’s top goals.
  2. Of the people who know the goals only 19% are bought in to the goals.
  3. People only spend 49% of their time working towards those top goals.
  4. 51% do not understand what they can do to help achieve the company’s top goals.

Questions to Evaluate Your Organization’s Level of Strategic Coherence

  • Are we clear about how we choose to create value in the marketplace?
  • Are we investing in the capabilities that really matter to our way to play?
  • Can we articulate the three to six capabilities that describe what we do uniquely better than anyone else?
  • Have we defined how they work together in a system? Do our strategy documents reflect this?
  • Have we specified our product and service “sweet spot?”
  • Do we understand how to leverage the capabilities system in new or unexpected arenas?
  • Do most of the products & services we sell fit with our capabilities system?
  • Can everyone in the organization articulate our differentiating capabilities?
  • Is our company’s leadership reinforcing these capabilities?
  • Do we have a right to win in our chosen market?
  • Do all of our decisions add to our coherence, or do some of them push us toward incoherence?

Communicate It

Communications expert and author of The Power of Presence Kristi Hedges agrees in a Harvard Business Review webcast, “Getting work done through distributed teams, virtual workforces, and flattened hierarchies requires having outstanding strategic communications abilities.” She discusses the five required abilities:

  1. Creating an intentional presence
  2. Being able to get buy-in
  3. Delivering executive briefings
  4. Connecting with distributed teams through virtual leadership
  5. Giving and receiving direct feedback.