“Executing a strategy without engaged people is impossible, and brilliant strategies without execution are meaningless.”
That’s how an article at Inc., entitled Why Strategy Without Execution Will Get You Nowhere begins.
It’s like we wrote that ourselves. In fact, we have written very similar statements on numerous occasions. Want to know why? Because it’s true.
It’s mid-January. By now, a large percentage of New Years resolutions have already been long forgotten. That’s true in business as well as personal life. Businesses often end the year giddy with the excitement about the new plans and strategies they’ve developed for the new year.
“We’re going to do great. We’re going to increase sales and profits. We’re going to hire new, fresh talent. We’re going to…”
Sometimes actual targets or objectives accompany those statements. Sometimes they’re followed by statements that start with “And here’s how we’re going to do it.”
But what’s often missing is, “Here’s why we’re going to do it,” or “Here’s why it’s imperative that we do.”
Let’s use the Plan Canvas purpose statement as an example
Simply put, we want businesses to increase their odds of success and do better. Why?
Because even a modest improvement in business performance will make a tremendously positive impact on the economy, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and take us that much closer to improving lives and eliminating poverty.
Is it a coincidence that the reported percentage of disengaged employees is almost the same as the failure rate of strategic plans?
The American Management Association (AMA) reports more than 60% of strategies are not successfully executed. A Gallup poll indicated that only 32% of employees in the United States were engaged in their work in 2015, virtually flat over the 31.5% reported in 2014.
Let’s see – there’s a 60% failure rate in strategy execution, while the employee disengagement is rate is 68%.
There has to be SOME kind of purpose
Perhaps the answer to the high failure rate of strategies is to simply give employees a greater sense of purpose.
The purpose for any business doesn’t have to be big and lofty nor world changing. It can be almost anything. But it has to be SOMETHING because that sense of purpose is what you need in order to get your employees excited and engaged.
If the only sense of purpose they feel is “to put money in the pockets of someone other than myself”, they aren’t going to be very engaged. If they aren’t engaged, you are on your own and the strategy will fail.