#3 Poor staffing
Are your key focus areas with the right people responsible for driving them? Are there clear targets to measure progress on whether they are doing a good job or not? Are your weekly SMT meetings brainstorming meetings or are about reporting on performance against set targets in their respective scorecard performance areas?
It is difficult to analyse effective staffing unless you have clear scorecard targets per pillar or strategic focus area.
Most of the time, you find wrong people in the right places. For example, business leaders make a strategy, and are required to hire talented people to champion given pillars but find these people are non-existent. It is like getting a very big car tyre for a trailer and putting it on a Toyota Premio. Of course, the tyre will not fit. If it does fit, the car won’t move. The tyre was not made up for that.
As explained earlier, great tailors will tell you that you must buy dresses that fit.
If a shirt is too big, it will make the wearer too think. If the dress is too small, it will not fit the body. That is what poor recruitment does to your business.
When you get the right people and put them in the wrong places, you will have problems. It is like getting a right tyre but putting it on a wrong car. If you get wrong people, put them in the right places, it is like getting a new tyre and putting it into a used very old car that can’t move. Effectively, you are misusing resources. That is total abuse. This is the kind of situation in very many corporate offices. Somebody is highly qualified but posted in a position where they can’t deliver .This becomes a friction to the business.
As a leader, you need to carry out a human resource redeployment matrix after a thorough skills and functional analysis. You analyse people’s skills and experience, put them into places where they are ideal. Once you do this, execution will be shift.
#4 Lack of effective communication
Ask all your top managers in a meeting to write down the top three strategic challenges to the business and how they are fixing it. Chances of getting different answers are high. And that is the diagnosis for poor strategy clarity.
Turn your meetings into productive meetings. Have clear targets for each of your managers and standard reporting formats to enable reporting consistency.
Poor articulation of the common target to all departments is a huge roadblock when it comes to effective strategy execution. You have HR thinking their focus is hiring people and sending them to different departments they think needs a person. You have a main point where the organization should be looking but people are moving in different ways. People have not known about it. They have something else. You call them for a meeting to discuss about what is critical tothe business, they won’t come in time. They think what they are doing is the most important.
At the end of the day, something which matters most to the business is not given the much needed attention. Finance is also aiming in a different direction. 80 per cent of their effort isn’t something in the company strategy. Sales is thinking about something different not aligned to the strategy focus areas. They don’t know how what they do fits into the overall company strategic objectives.
Only the CEO is the vision bearer. Only he knows what matters most to the business. The company is a divided house. Every other body doesn’t know where the company is heading. Poor communication becomes a big challenge in executing strategy.
Consider a team of people who have gone for mountain climbing. But you fail to communicate clearly the rendezvous point to meet, and the time of the meeting. Chances of going in different directions on different days are high. That is what happens to the business when the leader does not clearly communicate the strategy.
#5 Failure to prioritize and finance what matters most
As a leader, you need to know what is in your way to effective strategy execution. There are certain things as a leader you need to get right. And alignment or having insider things speak together is very important. It is like having a car not well aligned. If you are driving through a straight road, put your hands off the stirring wheel as the car moves, if the wheels are not well aligned, the car will tend to veer off.
To drive in a straight path, you must keep your hands on the stirring wheel. Technology is bringing us to having driverless cars. If the car’s tyres are not aligned, you will have a problem. You must keep your hands gripped on the steering wheel, else the car will veer and you move off the road. The result may be a fatal accident.As a leader, can you keep the organization running even if you get off to a holiday? Or must always keep your hands on?
The chances of you failing as a leader can be monitored on your ability to continue having your hands on the steering wheel. If you going to continue drivinghands on, it is an indicator your car is not well aligned. What are the key critical things you have to do to complete your strategy?
A strategy isn’t complete unless it has a one page summary of your focus clearly explaining the choices you have made, structure aligned to the strategy, a work plan with clear activities to actualise the strategy, scorecard to monitor the strategy and budget to implement it.
Most of the time, execution fails because these critical tools are not present. People have uncoordinated activities. You have a consultant coming to do strategy, another doing scorecard, another supporting work plans. It is just a mixture.
Maybe by the nature of the company, it gets money from the consolidated fund. Anybody at the top can get the business going with some little profits. But is that the best the organization can make if all critical elements of strategy are well aligned. That’s a question for you.