Project Management

The Strategy-Execution Gap

Tim Wasserman

When organizations fail to achieve strategic goals, they often fail first to prioritize and align the necessary resources. In order to execute complex initiatives, leaders must continuously evaluate teams across a range of technical and relational skills, and then empower, support and invest in people who can get it done.

Everyone agrees that strategy execution is important, but the disconnect between strategy making and strategy execution continues to plague leaders across all industries and markets and ultimately impede success. Today, organizations spend a good deal of time and effort developing and communicating their strategies to ensure they are understood by all. However, it’s clear that many struggle with actually executing their strategies in a manner that achieves its intended results. In Project Management Institute’s 2014 Pulse of the Profession: The High Cost of Low Performance, only nine percent of companies rated as excellent at execution

While there are many external and internal forces at play, the culprit, more often than not, is the lack of alignment at some or multiple levels within the organization.

A company’s leadership typically drives strategy making. It sets the strategic direction of the organization, often by employing a process of top-down and/or bottom-up planning that includes the identification of goals and metrics. Once…

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