In Can You Say What Your Strategy Is in the April 2008 edition of Harvard Business Review, David Collis and Michael Rukstad claim that most executives cannot summarize their company’s strategy. Of course, if executives can’t, no one else in the organization will be able to. And those organizations that don’t understand their strategy are unlikely to execute them successfully.
In their words:
In an astonishing number of organizations, executives, frontline employees, and all those in between are frustrated because no clear strategy exists for the company or its lines of business.
In my words:
These organizations have a gap between strategy and execution.
How do they close this gap? By becoming an alignment-focused organization. Getting people on the same page requires a healthy dose of motivation, rather than a simple mandate. I find that most people miss this difference and pick the wrong ‘m’ to focus on. It reminds me of the old saying: ‘the beatings will continue until morale improves’.
As Phil pointed out in an earlier post, if you’re going to align everyone to your strategy, you have to have a strategy in the first place. A good strategy should start with a definition of the objective, i.e the outcome that the strategy would like to achieve. I describe this as the organization’s mission statement (more in a later post as to why this is different than a vision).
So, without looking on your website, can you say what your mission statement is? Better yet, can you explain how your job helps the organization achieve that mission?