Why is it that one company thrives while a competitor falters? How do some organizations seem to have an innate ability to avoid the debilitating actions of layoffs, hiring freezes and curtailed business investments when such actions have become so commonplace?
Many of the enterprises at risk today possess valid business models, yet they struggle. In fact, Harvard Business Review, based on extensive research, reports that…
”Typically, organizations achieve only 60% of their strategic intent due to flaws in planning and execution…”
Consequently, many companies struggle to sustain only average performance, pouring all their resources and energy into just staying afloat. Investing in the future, innovating or building value have become afterthoughts.
Creating a high-performance company often requires taking the less traveled path – becoming excellent at those things others give too little attention to or ignore altogether.
The three components of exceptional growth:
- Validated Strategic Plan
- Execution Framework
- Human Capital/Strategy Alignment
Vibrant businesses that dominate their sectors have developed mature organizational competencies around these three business drivers. Excel in these areas and you can control your destiny.
A desire to migrate from mediocrity to the realm of overachievers requires distinct methodologies, tools, and discipline.
A Validated Strategy
Validation simply means there is data behind strategic choices. There is tangible risk associated with mapping a course to the future without current information regarding your company’s capabilities, competitive landscape, and marketplace trends.
Unfortunately, too many senior teams embark on the annual planning process without the requisite insights, with a reliance only on memory and gut instinct. This can lead to misguided strategic choices or overly ambitious goals.
Before you plan, learn. Make the first step in your planning process the collection of data:
- SWOT Analysis
- Competitive Landscape
- Marketplace Trends/Customer Feedback
An Execution Framework consists of all the elements needed to successfully deliver on stated goals within an acceptable timeframe.
Execution is a systemic challenge for many organizations. A lack of KPIs, too little accountability, under-resourced growth initiatives, slow course correction, missing skills, and a too forgiving culture are all examples of execution barriers.
Smart leaders root out the barriers to execution and construct the Execution Framework as part of the planning exercise. They allow little daylight to get between the plan and the execution framework.
- Strategy Ownership
- Cross-functional Execution Teams
- KPIs for each initiative
- Dashboards – Leading Indicators
- A Cadence of Review
- Consequences – for wins and misses
- Culture of High Performance
60% of respondents to a recent Talent Survey conducted by Aon Consulting stated that they have a talent shortage. For businesses with an eye toward growth, upgrading the talent quotient is not an option, but a necessity in today’s environment.
The innovative and bold leader understands that talent upgrade and cost management are not mutually exclusive and a sound growth plan contains both.
Changing market conditions, shifting strategies, new technologies and an evolving business model all demand a vigilant examination of talent effectiveness on a regular basis. Undertake a talent assessment with each planning cycle. Skill sets need to align with strategic intent.
Very little upgrading of talent can occur in an environment where senior leaders lack a desire to do so. It is not unusual, particularly in high growth businesses, for changes to occur among the senior team before an aggressive growth strategy can be implemented. It has been proven time and time again that a “B” player in the senior ranks will inhibit the acquisition of the expertise required to win.
Worse yet, a “C” player in a leadership role will likely drive off those with real promise, rendering an aggressive growth plan a pipe dream.
The Power of Three
A validated strategy, execution framework, and the talent to win all work in concert to create a high performance, growth-oriented organization. None are optional.
Understanding the power of these three capabilities and applying the techniques, tools, and methodologies to bring each to life, will deliver exceptional results.
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This article originally appeared here on LinkedIn.