Common Mistakes That Can Stall Your Strategy Execution Process

Do you know about that telephone game the kids usually play? The game which involves one person thinking of a phrase and passing it to the next person by whispering it to them. Then that person will whisper it to the person next to them, and the game continues similarly. By the time the last individual reveals what they have heard, everyone realizes the phrase has morphed into something entirely different from the phrase that was initially decided and passed on. 

Organizations often experience a similar effect during their strategy execution process. The message might be evident and precise at the executive level. But by the time it moves through the various divisions and levels of the organization, the initial purpose and intent get lost, and people in the business need to be on the same page. This results in the team getting misaligned and can affect the organization’s decision-making process. 

Strategy Execution Process

Effective execution of strategy is often challenging for organizations. It is one of the biggest problems management groups and CEOs face worldwide. It necessitates direction, frequent cross-functional cooperation, and active communication. Unfortunately, businesses frequently make different types of mistakes that make executing a strategy more challenging.


Common strategy execution mistakes

Following are some of the common mistakes that can result in strategic messages losing their intent as they are cascaded throughout the organization:


1. Maintaining organizational barriers

Collaboration between an organization’s teams, divisions, and departments is necessary for successful strategy implementation. Dismantling the boundaries between these components allows for the interactive problem-solving and creativity frequently required to keep the organization in line with the strategy. It ensures that everyone operates at the same pace and is on the same page about the organization’s strategy. 

When organizational managers and leaders from all levels and functions work together beyond the barriers, they frequently develop innovative strategic ideas that may be applied throughout the firm. Cross-sharing can boost the business’s odds and help it attain its strategy effectively. 


2. Communicating using only data

Logic and data should be used in communication, but don’t underestimate the power of storytelling. Stories draw people’s attention and imagination, and they let them live through the messages directly, making it easier for them to learn precisely.

Leaders can provide examples of achievement and how it is accomplished through storytelling. Not all stories need to be lengthy or heroic. It might be helpful to express how you expect change to occur by including brief summaries or examples of how change has been effectively implemented, who was involved, and how their actions matched the vision.


3. Avoidance of debates 

One of the defining characteristics of a good strategy is to bring about change that boosts the performance and competitiveness of the firm. Having healthy debates amongst teams and employees is a good sign of having an engaged workforce. We hold great significance on harmony within any group, and it is believed that debates can disrupt organizational harmony. As a result, many organizations don’t consider having discussions and debates about the right thing to do for executing their strategies. 

The main problem is that debate avoidance results in nothing but creating a false harmony. The only solution is to take other people’s opinions on board and promote a culture where healthy debates between teams during discussions are more than welcome. 


4. Not including lower-level managers in planning

Third- and fourth-level leaders frequently contribute viewpoints from the front lines that are only apparent to top executives. Leaders can take advantage of their input to help them make strategic decisions that are more tailored to the actual market and operational conditions. 

Participation in strategic decision-making also ensures that mid-level leaders fully understand the plan’s purpose. It enables them to serve as the alignment leaders throughout the corporation.


5. Unclear strategy

Nobody who asserts that “strategy is easy; it’s the execution that’s hard” comprehends the value of sound strategy. Without a sound strategy, execution is incredibly difficult. Organizations are always attempting to execute while being forced to review their strategy. After making some strides in one direction, they realize they need to change course. Two steps forward, three steps back, rinse, and repeat can be how it seems. 

A flawed plan typically contains one or more of the following traits, making it simple to spot – strategies having unclear meaning, deception of goals as strategies, and failure to focus and prioritize. So, make sure to hold yourself and your team accountable for developing a better strategy to avoid the mistake of executing a flawed strategy.


Need proficient assistance in executing your organizational strategies? Reach out to us today! 

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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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