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Operationalizing your Strategy

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

IT Strategy Planning

Turning Strategy into Reality: The Key Role of Execution

Strategy planning forms the crux of a company's success. This is when all the creative energy and innovative thinking comes together to outline a roadmap to success. Companies invest significant time and money in this stage, often organising offsite retreats, day-long meetings, and engaging their employees in the process to ensure everyone is on board with the vision for the future. The atmosphere is electrifying, and employees return to their desks, inspired and motivated by the potential they see in their future.

The initial excitement soon gives way to the daily grind, with the relentless influx of new ideas, constant shifts in priorities, and the often overwhelming reality of turning strategic plans into operational tasks. Employees, for the most part, are left to their own devices, trying to figure out how to translate high-level strategy into tangible actions.

The Dilemma:

In my years of observation, this scenario plays out again and again in both small and large businesses alike. The statistics echo this sentiment: 67% of well-formulated strategies fail due to poor execution, only 10% of formulated strategies are effectively executed, and only 8% of company leaders excel at both strategy and execution. Moreover, a staggering 59% of senior executives admit they fail to meet their strategic initiatives, and 60% of employees do not have measurable goals tied to their company’s set strategy. With only 12% of employees knowledgeable about their company’s strategic priorities, it's clear that we have a serious problem.

This issue is not just about strategy formulation; it's about execution. As Peter Bregman points out in his illuminating Harvard Business Review article, "Execution Is a People Problem, Not a Strategy Problem."

Peter Bregman suggests that the issue isn't with the strategies themselves, but with the people tasked with executing them. But is it really their fault? Or is it a systematic problem with how we approach strategy execution?

The "proposed" Solution:

So, how can we bridge the gap between strategy formulation and execution? The answer lies in the operationalization of your strategy.

The operationalization process involves several key steps:

  • Translate the strategy into operational terms: This step involves clearly defining what the strategy means for every part of the organisation. It often includes creating a series of strategic objectives or initiatives that will drive the implementation of the strategy.

  • Align the organisation with the strategy: Once the strategy has been translated into operational terms, it's essential to ensure all parts of the organisation are aligned with these strategic objectives. This might involve aligning resources, processes, or even the organisational structure itself to support the strategy.

  • Make the strategy everyone's everyday job: Strategy execution involves embedding the strategy into the daily activities of every employee. This can be done through clear communication, training, and ongoing support.

  • Make strategy a continual process: Strategy execution is not a one-time event. It's an ongoing process that requires continual monitoring, adjustment, and refinement to respond to changing circumstances and to ensure the strategy remains effective.

  • Mobilise change through executive leadership: Strategy execution often involves significant change within an organisation. For this reason, it requires strong and effective leadership to drive the process and to overcome any resistance to change.

  • Monitor and adapt the strategy: Just as the business environment is dynamic, so too should be the strategy. It is crucial to monitor progress, measure success against predefined KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and adapt the strategy as needed.

Businesses need to foster a culture where every employee understands the company's strategic objectives and how their work contributes to these goals. This involves clearly communicating the strategy, connecting it to individual roles, and setting measurable targets tied to the strategy. Businesses also need to ensure that the strategy is flexible and adaptable. The business world is dynamic, and companies need to be able to pivot quickly in response to changing circumstances. This means regularly reviewing and adjusting the strategy as needed. Businesses must also create an environment that supports and rewards execution. This might involve celebrating milestones, recognizing individual and team contributions, and providing regular feedback.


Developing a strategy is just the first step. The real challenge lies in its execution. To avoid becoming another statistic in the strategy execution failure rate, businesses need to ensure their employees understand the strategy, adapt the strategy as needed, and create an environment that supports execution.

Only then can we transform the strategy from a mere plan on paper into a successful reality that propels the company's growth and success. The future of business depends not just on strategic planning but also on effective execution. Let's bridge the gap between strategy and execution, and transform our businesses for the better.

The Secret Weapon:

A few weeks ago, I was introduced to Kendo. I attended a sales presentation and was impressed by what I saw. Being a sales presentation, I was curious to see how it actually worked and if it was able to deliver on the claims they made during the sales presentation. After having attended a full day of training with them, I can confirm that, not only are they able to deliver what they promised but that this tool is quite unique and does much more than what they can say or present during their sales presentation.

In short, "The Kendo Way" is a cutting-edge SaaS platform that offers comprehensive and innovative solutions to align strategy and execution while boosting organisational performance. The platform's focus on strategic alignment, performance improvement, decision making, and business agility, combined with its potential to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction, make it a vital tool for businesses. With its unique ability to bridge the gap between strategy and execution, "The Kendo Way" is certainly a platform that forward-thinking businesses should explore to drive successful implementation and achieve desired outcomes.

References & Interesting Read:

Execution Is a People Problem, Not a Strategy Problem, by Peter Bregman, January 04, 2017

Mastering the Management System, by Robert S. Kaplan, and David P. Norton

From the HBR Magazine (January 2008)

Turn Your IT Strategy into Reality With an Execution Blueprint, by Tomas Nielsen and Ian Cox from Gartner Webinars, June 2023

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