1) Why should we use the Strategy Execution Readiness Assessment?
The results of this survey will help you to:
- Find out on an anonymous basis how people who will be involved in execution perceive the track record of the organization in terms of implementing strategy.
- Determine what are the key issues related to execution in the organization.
- Identify what needs to be done as part of the execution approach to ensure that these issues are addressed in order to ensure an effective pathway to the realization of strategic aspirations.
2) Specifically, what questions will it answer for us?
- What do individuals see as the sources of the organization’s (in)effectiveness in executing strategy
- What are the key success factors for the effective execution of strategy in this organization?
- What do we need to change to enhance effectiveness in strategy execution?
- How do we need to change how the organization undertakes an execution effort?
- What should be the role of leaders at different levels of the organization?
3) Is there a “framework” or model of Execution behind the Assessment?
- The assessment is based on a framework that takes into account the obstacles that are typically experienced when it comes to executing strategy.
- The framework requires that the following be in place:
i. Strategies that are execution-ready before they are passed on to execution teams.
ii. A comprehensive road map with well-defined strategic initiatives.
iii. Clearly defined accountabilities for all involved in the execution, including the senior leadership.
iv. The right capabilities to effectively execute the new strategy.
v. A feedback-loop between strategy formulation and execution as teams learn more about the reality of the assumptions though their efforts to execute.
- The framework helps identify the interventions required to correct execution practices that are inadequate.
4) How do you collect the data?
- An on-line questionnaire is sent to people who are identified as having execution experience in the organization.
- A commitment is made to keep the data anonymous but demographic data collected makes it possible to “slice and dice” the data to dig deeply into specific issues.
- The questionnaire can be customized to take into account the specific organizational context pertinent to executing the strategies.
- In addition to questions answered with a 1 to 10 scale, a number of open-ended questions can be inserted into the questionnaire to allow people to share their thinking more fully.
5) What is our role (if any) in collecting the data?
- The organization communicates to prospective respondents the intent of the exercise and explains what they need to do.
- Remind respondents to complete the questionnaire fully and in a timely manner.
6) How long does it take you to analyze the data?
- Once the survey is closed, it takes approximately 8 days to analyze the data.
7) What types of outputs do you deliver?
- Summaries of all data by question, demographic factor, etc.
- An overview of the state of Execution (how respondents “see” Execution)
- Identification of Execution issues (what needs to be addressed)
- An assessment of Execution-specific capabilities
- Answers to a series of why questions (e.g. why Execution is working well in some instances and not in others)
- Key insights into the organization pertaining to Execution
- Recommendations: what needs to be done to enhance Execution
8) What are some specific examples of what the outputs address?
- The breakdowns often happen in the “hand-off” of a newly formulated strategy to individual functions and groups who must execute specific programs, initiatives and plans. For instance, senior leaders may believe that everything is in place for execution but members of execution teams believe that strategies are not handed to them in a form that is readily executable. The outputs also indicate if the execution teams consider they are receiving adequate guidance on the intent of the strategies.
- The data collected might show that key Execution initiatives are poorly connected and are not adequately coordinated. For instance, the members of the senior leadership team might feel that their colleagues are not supportive and initiate steps that end up being counter-productive to the implementation of the strategy. Middle managers might believe that not enough attention is given to aligning incentives; they find themselves facing the dilemma of either realizing their immediate business objectives or implementing strategies that run counter to these objectives.
- The analysis differentiates the way people see the organization executing initiatives and plans by level, function and geography. The outputs may indicate that the relationship between functions is not conducive to introducing new strategies. For instance, Sales might perceive that new programs and plans often emanate from Marketing without a realistic assessment of how customers will perceive value in the changes being introduced.
- Senior leaders might be perceived as inaccessible or too distant from the difficulties experienced in execution and as failing to make timely decisions on matters that need to be addressed.
- In larger, more global organizations, different geographies might face different challenges with execution. In some cases, it might be a strong resistance to change and in others it could be intransigent leadership unwilling to reconsider failing execution initiatives and plans.
- Responses to the open questions provide context for the analysis. For instance, individuals’ comments often reveal anecdotes and vignettes that illustrate the challenges encountered with Execution.
- Other outputs could determine…
i. Whether and how senior leaders devote appropriate attention to Execution
ii. Whether clear accountabilities are evident in Execution
iii. Whether competitor and customer change is adequately monitored
iv. Execution teams are (in)sufficiently resourced to achieve Execution’s goals
v. How rewards and incentives influence Execution actions and behaviors
vi. The extent to which Execution focuses on enhancing customer insights
vii. Whether Execution can deliver the intended customer value propositions
viii. Extent to which assumptions embedded in the strategy are tested during
ix. Whether Execution plans are seen as consistent and reinforcing
x. Whether marketplace action plans and internal plans are coordinated and
9) Do you make recommendations (based on the analysis)?
- Yes. The issues are clearly delineated based on the framework and recommendations are identified on how to address them.
Liam Fahey, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-455-8230
Hubert St Onge, email@example.com, 416-268-8879