One of the biggest frustrations that many businesses are facing is the gap between strategy and operations. The strategic intent and the long-term view always excite and motivate people, but this excitement is often short-lived as people are all too busy focusing on the short-term success and not on these seemingly idealistic dreams. Results have to be achieved and the focus is often turned to the short term and in many instances, crisis management.
Five or three-year visions are often clearly displayed along the walls and offices of the organisation. While these should be seen and hopefully reinforced often the vision does not live in the hearts and minds of the staff on a daily basis. The vision is briefly revisited at annual management conferences. Ideally, it should guide all the work undertaken in the organization.
Many departments have clearly defined goals, objectives, KPIs and measures. Most of the time these goals are achieved through a top-down drive with the fear of non-compliance driving the activity. A passionate understanding of, and a deep commitment to the vision is often not there.
Most organisations visit their strategy documents at least annually. Some are doing this more often, but very few dive into their strategic intent on a 90-day cycle. It is a fact that many executives spend less than an hour a month discussing strategy and many are not incentivized on the achievement of the strategy.Those organisations who regularly discuss and track the strategic objectives are often more successful.
The secret of successful organisations is that they align daily activities with the long-term focus. They have a clear sense of purpose that is shared by all employees. They do not become distracted or driven by urgency. They know that strategy looks at things that are important; that strategy is no daily “to do” list, but rather a culmination of many activities and processes that focus on achieving a long-term objective.
In the fast-moving world that we live in, change is a way of life. If we are not touching base with the strategy regularly and making adjustments where required, we will not keep up with the fast-changing world.