The vast majority of product launches, reorganizations, mergers and improvement initiatives either fail or grossly disappoint. In all, roughly 90% of major projects violate their own schedule, budget or quality standards.
Obviously these performance gaps are not part of the plan. Companies that work together to create very concise business plans, supported by a constant rhythm of team meetings, are more apt to stay on course and execute their plans with precision.
Seems obvious, so why do most initiatives breakdown?
Let me make it very clear. The challenges are two fold, lack of alignment around the company’s priorities and lack of trust in talking honestly with leadership.
When employees don’t commit to — or may not even understand — the plan, or are afraid of bringing forward bad news, you get results like:
Organizations that openly create their business blueprint and honestly discuss their progress and failures are in a better position to get the best out of their team while achieving their goals. A culture that understands their priorities, and enjoys the freedom to challenge and even dissent are very rare, and often times very successful.
So what is in an effective strategic blueprint or roadmap?
The strategic blueprint is a simple summation that the team constructs outlining their positioning and business plan, including annual priorities, key drivers, insights into the customer and the competition, a description of the company’s identity and purpose, individual personal goals, risk assessments, resource needs and a definition of annual and longer term goals.
A good blueprint answers the following questions:
Companies that can simplify these key questions and introduce them consistently into everyone’s daily lives will drive stronger execution against whatever they are focusing on. The most valuable outcomes of an effective strategic blueprint include:
The challenge within most companies is the difficulty in blending strategy (or strategic thinking) and execution on a daily basis. Strategic discussions are not something done once or twice per year in a hotel meeting room. Strategic reflection is something that goes on all the time in the best dark horse organizations. They pride themselves on always thinking strategic, while holding themselves deeply accountable to daily execution.
So what are the winning companies doing differently?
It is not strategy or execution, its strategy and execution.