“OutPerform” means to surpass one’s personal best, to surpass one’s competition. It means to operate at increasingly higher levels … levels that deliver results that surpass those of others … levels that deliver results that can accelerate us forward. This concept applies to individuals, leaders, teams and organizations.
The pace of change has become a common topic. However, what is not common is the ability to change faster than the competition.
Most leaders know the obvious – outperforming the competition requires innovative strategy and great execution.
However, most leaders also know that few organizations deliver these results consistently.
Delivering strategy is elusive because it demands different ways of operating than past generations of organizational capability.
Today’s innovative strategies are different – and require different execution
Innovative strategies demand change across the organization and deep into functional areas, for example strategies like: shifts from ‘product driven’ to ‘customer driven’; radically evolving customer experience; leveraging “big data”.
These require more than different organization charts and process re-design. They require changing the way that leaders across the organization think about how the business functions and about how they operate in it. Cultural shifts like transparency and collaboration, that sound so obvious are notoriously difficult to effect.
Already most organizations struggle with even basic large-scale project implementation. Consider for a moment your organization’s own track record for implementing a new system or process. Do you go live on time? Do you deliver on budget? Do you get the envisioned benefits? How do you really know that you are getting the predicted benefits? The stark reality is that when organizations know the answers to these questions (and, frankly, many don’t have good answers) the harsh truth is that projects rarely deliver as promised.
Considering the complexity of innovative strategies today, this is problematic.
Improving strategy execution
Organizations must improve their effectiveness at strategy execution … even while they are executing. This is a concurrent challenge.
Precisely because this is elusive, it offers the strategic differentiator of the 21st century. Those leaders and organizations who learn how to deliver strategy more effectively than the competition will overtake them.
The six components of OutPerforming
Six key components are required to execute innovative strategy. Building capabilities in these areas have a fly-wheel effect: every cycle of improvement builds foundational efficacy.
1. An Agile Culture. This dimension of the organization’s culture is geared specifically for adaptation, where leaders and employees at all levels have a predisposition for change. They are ready and resilient.
2. An Engaged Board. An engaged Board is looking at a 3-5-10 year horizon and is supportive of leadership in prioritization across these terms. The Board also requires oversight on delivery performance over this timeline. These mindsets are set at the very top of the organization.
3. Engaged Leaders. An engaged leadership team works together across silos with the best interests of the Enterprise in mind. They recognize that leading transformational change is unlike any other operational leadership role. They participate fully in the Strategy Formulation and in the cascade into Business Planning. They steward the original organization vision to ensure that it is translated accurately into initiatives. They surface and resolve resistance. They build and sustain commitment. They actively support initiatives throughout implementation and they watch for the leading and lagging realization indicators.
4. An Agile Strategy. Transformation is emergent. Great transformational strategy can only estimate the future. It must also be adaptive. Scenario planning, re-calibration and even sometimes course correction are provided for.
5. An Execution Engine. The multi-disciplinary capabilities required for great strategy execution include:
- Sponsorship (at multiple levels)
- Organization Development
- Organization Design
- Learning and Development
- Talent Management
- Business Process Re-engineering
- Business Analysis
- Change Management
- Portfolio, Program and Project Management
Each of these is deep and requires specific attention and they need to be appropriately integrated for optimization.
6. Benefits Realization. Assuring that the organization obtains the full benefits envisioned in the Business Case, Business Plan or Strategy Plan requires follow through. It requires a vigilance that begins with conception and only ends when results have been validated. Most organizations do not monitor for full benefits realization. There are many systemic reasons for this. Winners overcome these both with mindsets, governance structures and capabilities.
The reality is that working on any of these components will improve strategy execution. However, sub-optimization of any ONE (or more) will undermine, sabotage and otherwise cause delays, re-work, shortfalls and even outright failure.