Are 90% of Companies Still Failing to Execute on Strategy?
By tobyehatch on Feb 26, 2014
Denis is part of a volunteer research team called the Business Research and Analysis Group (BRAG) that, over the past 15 years, has done world-wide studies on a number of current business practices, including the adoption and use of performance scorecards, and issues in costing and profitability. The team’s results have been published in various magazines and journals and in a book called “Scorecard Best Practices; Design, Implementation and Evaluation.” In addition to Denis, Dr. Raef Lawson, Vice President of Research and Professor-in-Residence for IMA, and yours truly – Toby Hatch - a Senior Product Marketing Director for Oracle Business Analytics, are also part of the research team.
According to Denis, the team chose to research the topic of executing effectively on strategy because during the 15 years of conducting research together, they continued to hear the same statement repeated again and again, in a number of settings, and therefore began to question its current legitimacy. The quote, “90% of organizations fail to execute on strategy effectively,” originates from an article by Walter Kiechel III in 1982 article titled “Corporate Strategists Under Fire”. This number became a catalyst for businesses to seek improved methods for defining, articulating and, ultimately, executing strategy. This fact - less than 10% of organizations can fully implement their strategies - has been repeated, relatively unchanged, over the last 30 years.
In our interview, Jennifer asked Denis what the BRAG team found out through their recent research activity. “Things do appear to be getting better,” said Denis. “Results of our on-line survey show that in 2012, a higher percentage of organizations were successful at executing their strategy”. In fact, about 40% of the survey respondents self declared that they were successful or very successful. “We did not define what constituted success; we let our respondents self-declare their own success level.” said Denis. Demographic characteristics like industry and company size didn’t appear to be predictive on which organizations would declare success or non-success.
“So what distinguishes successful organizations?” inquired Jennifer.
There are some cultural or organizational characteristics that appear to contribute to successful execution of strategy, and some technical issues and processes that need to be considered, Denis explained. For example, organizations who feel that they are very successful at executing strategy are more likely to have:
• A supportive culture,
• Effective leadership,
• Clear communication to everyone about what the organization is trying to accomplish,
• Clear links among strategy,
• Focus on organizational strengths,
• And align the initiatives to get it all done
Denis also offered several technical aspects of successfully executing on strategy that should be considered (hear more by listening to the complete podcast).
Although there are still a large number of companies failing to execute effectively on strategy, the number that are executing effectively is improving, and the checklist of items to consider for improving execution is fairly comprehensive. To read more about the results of this study, refer to the article called, “Are 90% of Companies Still Failing to Execute on Strategy?” in the March/April 2014 edition of the Journal of Corporate Accounting and Finance published by John Wiley and Sons.
To listen to the entire podcast, click here.
To learn more about Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management used to monitor the execution of strategy, click here.