An all-too-common scenario…

Following weeks of marathon planning sessions, your organization’s 2019 business strategy is ready for release. Beautifully-colored spreadsheets, carefully-worded documents, and extensively-workshopped KPIs are fused into a single stunning package and cascaded down through the organization. The leadership team celebrates the successful release with a well-deserved glass of champagne, confident that 2019’s strategic plan is the one to really make you stand out from your competitors.

Fast-forward to May next year. The mood has changed. KPIs in your 2019 business strategy are not being met, and there are rumors of another expensive restructure. “Perhaps we were too idealistic?” the leadership team muses. Word is passed up from the managers that all employees are “working at 110%” but still no progress is being made, while the workers themselves say they need more support. Meanwhile, customers are dissatisfied—and making their feelings known.

The gap between strategy and execution

Hopefully, you have never found yourself in the situation noted above! It is a very recognizable one to many employees, as all types of organizations can end up spending a great deal of time and attention on strategy, only to fail in the implementation stage. Research suggests 50-90% of strategic initiatives fail, as the chasm between high-level strategic planning and actual execution of that strategy becomes just too wide. Without communication and collaboration serving as the invisible glue to bind an organization together in the face of change, many ambitious plans come to a disappointing and potentially embarrassing end.

3 ways to sabotage your 2019 business strategy…and how to avoid them

There is a range of ways that strategy can be undone in the execution stage, but research and evidence from Signavio customers show three main challenges. If you’re keen to make sure your 2019 business strategy fails, here’s exactly what to do! If, on the other hand, you would like your initiatives to succeed, please read on for some tips on how to avoid these common pitfalls.

Ensure your organization is slow to react to changes, and avoids agility at all costs

An excellent opportunity has opened up in the market! Unfortunately, it took too long for your organization to make the changes necessary to take advantage of the potential, and for the resulting decisions to grind through the creaking pathways of your legacy Knowledge Management System, which no one uses anyway. A more agile competitor has already edged your organization out.

How to Avoid It: Build your business agility with BPM. To make an organization’s systems and processes robust enough to deal with shocks and opportunities, that organization must be confident in knowing what business processes it has in place, how each one works and interacts with others, how efficient and effective each process is, and what elements of each process can be changed quickly. The most precise route to this goal is a strong business process framework that considers each business process as a separate (though connected) object, so that each can be optimized individually dependent on need.

Paralyze decision-making by failing to clearly communicate decision authority

If no-one within your organization knows who has responsibility for specific decisions in specific areas, it very quickly becomes easiest to make no choices at all. This slows your entire organization down, causes delays for customers, and results in all staff operating without a clearly defined and communicated accountability structure.

How to Avoid It: The execution of a strong 2019 business strategy—or indeed, any business process at all—is the result of thousands of decisions made by workers acting according to the information they have available. Making this information available in a way that is simple, responsive, and in a form that all employees will use, is a crucial step to avoiding decision paralysis. Take the guesswork out of things, and ensure all staff members have access to a process repository, no matter where they work within your business.

Make sure you limit the free flow of information within and between the different parts of your organization

…More commonly known as building silos. Interestingly, studies have found that even in organizations characterized as being good at executing strategy, only 55% of employees considered their firm to have good information flow across organisational boundaries. Not only does this informational blocking result in fewer opportunities for economies of scale, it means best practices are not transferred—everyone misses out.

How to Avoid It: Build your single source of truth, then make sure employees can talk to each other. A central digital meeting point (like Signavio Collaboration Hub) supports process transparency and visibility by encouraging knowledge sharing and acting as a solid foundation for consistent action across an organization. Making critical information about your 2019 business strategy available to all users in a single place avoids surprises, so everyone within an organization moves as one, and strategic goals are implemented smoothly and efficiently.

Successful business strategy

Strategy execution success hinges on effective communication. By ensuring your organization can react quickly to new information, that the right groups and individuals have the correct information to understand what decisions they are responsible for, and have the capacity and structures in place to collaborate effectively, you can make your big strategy an even bigger success.

So what happened to the leadership team in the story? Realizing their communication challenges, they set about finding the perfect solution to align their vision with its operational execution. A lightweight yet sophisticated process platform to replace the cumbersome program lingering, unused, in the depths of the organization’s servers. Acting with agility as exceptional leaders do, analysts were delegated to test the solution free for 30 days. After finding their expectations exceeded, the solution was then rolled out across the entire business, to great acclaim. A satisfying, if hypothetical, ending!

Next steps

If you’d like to test the same solution for free, why not sign up to a 30 day trial with Signavio today? Or, if you’d like to prepare for your own 2019 business strategy by learning more about how to empower your team and ensure they’re all pulling in the same direction, discover the Signavio 7 Step Guide to Effective Business Transformation

Published on: December 14th 2018 - Last modified: December 18th, 2018