Having a close link between strategy and execution is critically important. Your strategy is your promise to deliver value: the things you do for customers, now and in the future, that no other company can do as well. Your execution occurs in the thousands of decisions made each day by people at every level of your company.Quality, innovation, profitability, and growth all depend on having strategy and execution fit together seamlessly. If they don’t fit — if you can’t deliberately align them in a coherent way — you risk operating at cross-purposes and losing your focus.1. Aim HighDon’t compromise your strategy or your execution. Set a lofty ambition for your strategy: not just financial success but sustained value creation, making a better world through your products, services, and presence
2. Build on Your StrengthsYour company has capabilities that set it apart, things you do better than anyone else. You can use them as a starting point to create greater success.
3. Be Ambidextrous (a bit different than the definition we use in MDG)In the physical world, ambidexterity is the ability to use both hands with equal skill and versatility. In business, it’s the ability to manage strategy and execution with equal competence. In some companies, this is known as being “bilingual”: able to speak the language of the boardroom and the shop floor or software center with equal facility. Ambidextrous managers can think about the technical and operational details of a project in depth and then, without missing a beat, can consider its broader ramifications for the industry.4. Clarify Everyone’s Strategic RoleThe people in your day-to-day operations — wherever they are, and on whatever level — are continually called upon to make decisions on behalf of the enterprise. If they are not motivated to deliver the strategy, the strategy won’t reach the customers
5. Align Structures to Strategy
Set up all your organizational structures, including your hierarchical design, decision rights, incentives, and metrics, so they reinforce your company’s identity: your value proposition and critical capabilities
6. Transcend Functional BarrierUnfortunately, many companies unintentionally diminish their capabilities by allowing functions to operate independently. It’s often easier for the functional leaders to focus on specialized excellence, on “doing my job better” rather than on “what we can accomplish together.”
7. Become a Fully Digital Enterprise (This is clearly the future. For those Horizon 3 Decision Criteria, I believe this should be included almost as a given—not an option)The seventh principle should affect every technological investment you make — and with luck, it will prevent you from making some outdated ones. Embrace digital technology’s potential to transform your company: to create fundamentally new experiences and interactions for your customers, your employees, and every other constituent.
8. Keep It Simple, SometimesMany company leaders wish for more simplicity: just a few products, a clear and simple value chain, and not too many projects on the schedule. Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way. In a large, mainstream company, execution is by nature complex.
9. Shape Your Value ChainNo company is an island. Every business relies on other companies in its network to help shepherd its products and services from one end of the value chain to the other. As you raise your game, you will raise the game of other operations you work with, including suppliers, distributors, retailers, brokers, and even regulators.
10. Cultivate Collective MasteryThe more bound your company is by internal rules and procedures for making and approving decisions, the slower it becomes. Hence the frustration leaders have with the pace of bureaucracy, in which people can’t make decisions because they don’t know what the strategic priorities are — or even what other stakeholders will think. In a world where disruption has become prevalent, your company can’t afford the time or expense of operating this way.The alternative is what we call collective mastery. This is a cultural attribute, often found in companies where strategy through execution is prevalent. It is the state you reach when communication is fluid, open, and constant. Your strategists understand what will work or not work because they talk easily with functional specialists. Your functional specialists know not only what they’re supposed to do, but why it matters. Everyone moves quickly and decisively, because they have the ingrained judgment to know who to consult, and when. People trust one another to make decisions on behalf of the whole.