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How to Execute Strategy

Legendary boxer Mike Tyson once quipped that “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.  While this statement was made in the context of an upcoming professional boxing match, it also fits well when talking about businesses and strategy.

Most businesses create some version of a strategic plan. The strategic plan reflects management’s assessment of the future and how the business will reach that future point. When developing a strategy, it is common to hear words and phrases such as “stretch goals”, “growth”, and “impact”.  You will never find a strategy that says, “we are going to get hit by a bus tomorrow”.  Strategies are inspiring and aspirational, and this is a key benefit of developing and communicating a strategy within your organization.

Still, many businesses struggle to consistently execute the strategy. To paraphrase Mr. Tyson, the business gets punched in the mouth. The business loses a key employee. A shortage of a key raw material negatively impacts margins (sound familiar?). A key customer begins to fall behind on making payments. It could be one thing or, more likely, will be multiple issues and challenges that push the business off its original strategy. The result is a strategic plan that not only is never realized but that is never EXECUTED!

So, how does a business execute a strategic plan after receiving that punch in the mouth? Here are a few tips and guidelines to help your business execute more effectively:

  • Reduce each annual strategic objective to a series of smaller, more short-term objectives,
  • Create a project plan for each short-term objective and identify the key steps in the project path,
  • Assign action items to individual team members,
  • Meet regularly to report status and address issues.

Sound simple? It is hard for a business to remain focused even in the best of times. It can be extremely challenging after getting “punched in the mouth”.  The payoff for executing strategy is significant. First, management can evaluate the viability of the current strategy and make necessary corrections. Second, developing the capacity to execute strategy at the organization level will undoubtedly make the business more competitive. Third, the organization will benefit as employees learn to take the strategy seriously rather than viewing it as simply an organizational exercise.

XPECT would like to help your business become more effective at executing strategy. Contact us today to set up a free one-hour consultation. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

News & Updates – XPECT congratulates Scott Alberson of Medallion Healthy Homes for winning our Ballpark Gift Basket drawing at the recent Business at the Ballpark Expo in Schaumburg.  XPECT would like to say thank you to everyone who visited our booth during the Expo.  It was great to connect with so many business leaders!

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