Here is an excerpt from an article written by Peter Bregman for Harvard Business Review and the HBR Blog Network. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, obtain subscription information, and receive HBR email alerts, please click here.
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[Note: Names and some details have been changed to protect privacy.]
Paul, the CEO of Marred, a global publishing company, was having trouble sleeping. Publishing is an industry that’s changing even faster than most other fast-changing industries, but Paul wasn’t awake worrying about his strategy. He had a solid plan that took advantage of new technologies, and the board and his leadership team were aligned around it. Paul and his team had already reorganized the structure — new divisions, revised roles, redesigned processes — to support their strategy.
So what was Paul worrying about? People.
Which is precisely what he should be worrying about. However hard it is to devise a smart strategy, it’s ten times harder to get people to execute on that strategy. And a poorly executed strategy, no matter how clever, is worthless.
In other words, your organization’s biggest strategic challenge isn’t strategic thinking — it’s strategic acting.
The conundrum is how to get from the current situation to a much improved one. Most organizations rely on communication plans to make that shift. Unfortunately, strategy communication, even if you do it daily, is not the same as — and is not enough to drive — strategy execution.
Because while strategy development and communication are about knowing something, strategy execution is about doing something. And the gap between what you know and what you do is often huge. Add in the necessity of having everyone acting in alignment with each other, and it gets even huger.
The reason strategy execution is often glossed over by even the most astute strategy consultants is because primarily it’s not a strategy challenge. It’s a human behavior one.
To deliver stellar results, people need to be hyperaligned and laser-focused on the highest-impact actions that will drive the organization’s most important outcomes.
But even in well-run, stable organizations, people are misaligned, too broadly focused, and working at cross-purposes.
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Here is a direct link to the complete article.
Peter Bregman is CEO of Bregman Partners, a company that strengthens leadership in people and in organizations through a variety of high-impact programs. To check out his blog, please click here.