Please send an email to jeremy.tozer @ tozerconsulting.com to request a copy of our Strategy Development and Execution brochure.
Economist Intelligence Unit Survey of 587 Senior Executives, 2013
- 61% of businesses struggle to bridge the strategy/implementation gap; C-suite needs to lead a structured process rather than micro-manage execution
- 65% of companies investing in ‘strategy execution leadership’ report significantly better financial performance than their peers
- Companies with ‘strategy execution leadership’ implement 20% more strategic initiatives than others
- Developing ‘strategy execution leadership’ is very important to 76% of the best executors of strategy compared to 37% of others
- 76% of the best executing businesses accord an higher priority to leadership capability than poor executors
Palladium Group Survey of 1266 organizations, 2014:
- Organizations using a strategy execution system are 7.5 times more likely to be high performing than low performing
- 62% fail to lead change effectively
- Only 9% believe they have the capability to fully optimize their strategic initiatives.
- Only 26% integrate leadership development to strategy execution. Those that do are 22.7 times more likely to be high performing (68% of high-performing v 3% of low-performing companies).
- 67% of Board members and CEOs did not believe that their current leadership development approach was enabling leaders to successfully execute strategy
- 75% of change fails (Towers Watson, 2013)
- 70% of strategic initiatives fail to achieve objectives, 25% have marginal success (Kotter, 2012)
- Only 5% of organizations implement strategy successfully (Kotter, 2012)
- 68% of employees are not engaged (Gallup, 2015)
- Only 30% of 1,546 executives rate their change initiative successful (Keller & Aiken, 2008).
- 70% of mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve desired outcomes (Weber & Camerer, 2003).
These results are typical of our impact. Some of these examples are written up as case studies and published with clients' permission in the book "Leading Through Leaders".
- Reduced the actual multi-million $ spend v planned budget of an internetworking company customer technical service division by 60% while increasing customer satisfaction and winning 2 industry awards.
- Doubled the productivity of a bank’s capital financing division in nine months at the same time as more than halving the two year anticipated time for this major change. Multi-skilling achieved and staff morale increased.
- $272 million of annual savings identified for a technology company through customer service process improvements – within four months.
- Solved an “unsolvable” $5 billion global supply chain, inventory and channel partner “business model change problem” for an internet working vendor in four months.
- In eight months, an hotel chain’s bookings increased by 50%, customer satisfaction doubled, and QA audit accuracy was raised from 48% to 97%. Head office staffing was reduced by 25%, annual consultancy spend was reduced by 88% while simultaneously raising morale and reducing staff turnover. After 18 months, revenue doubled and franchisee satisfaction trebled.
- After six months, new business written for the commercial customer division of a bank more than doubled, assets grew by more than 31%. Cost to income ratio remained under 30%, ROE exceeded 36%. Leadership was strengthened, time freed up for strategic work, a healthy internal competitive spirit was developed together with a structure that enabled rapid and uninhibited communication flow and effective, timely decisions.
Whether you call it strategy implementation, strategy execution, or even strategy management, there is very probably a gap between what you say you need to do to deliver value (= your strategy), and what people in your organization are actually doing on a day to day basis (= strategy execution). The best strategy is worthless if it is not well executed. We believe that strategy execution capability gives you a strong, differentiating and enduring source of competitive advantage.
Since 1995, Jeremy Tozer and Tozer Consulting have pioneered embedding strategy execution capability with clients around the world.
Leading strategy execution is leading change, it's leading business performance and it's leading projects. A disciplined, systemic, systematic, scalable and dynamic approach —which creates both meaningful clarity and emotional engagement at every level— creates measurable impact (both 'hard' and 'soft'), time and time again. We help clients embed a new way to lead the execution of strategy, empowering your leaders at all levels to lead change and innovation, to fully engage your people and be confident and agile enough to adapt to changed context.
In simple terms, we enable leaders to lead through other leaders. This ends reliance on celebrity CEO heroes, and transcends the movement of people into, around and out of the organization. The approach reduces the individual’s reliance on ‘force of personality’ and the organization’s reliance on ‘personalities’.
The Challenge of Execution: Overcoming Fog and Friction
The external operating environment —global and national economies, the market , competitors, demographics, and so on creates the ‘VUCA’ environment we all work within (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity —a term business writers have borrowed from military thinking). This is often described colloquially as ‘the fog of war’.
Internally, organizations are often full of the ‘friction’ which makes getting things done difficult. The causes of fiction includes:
- Imperfect decision-making and planning practices
- imperfect design resulting in leadership practices lacking clarity and precision of thought, methods which fail to ask the right questions or which make false assumptions rather than valid deductions from the information that is available, or methods which fail to adapt plans to actual progress and changed circumstances;
- leadership practices lacking the ‘social process’ which engages people, secures their emotional commitment and exploits their expertise and innovative ideas.
- Imperfect communication practices
- lack of leaders' 'visibility', over-reliance on email and impersonal communication
- imperfect design or ‘structure’ of the message;
- failure to reach the people who need to be reached;
- unclear and imprecise use of language;
- wrongly interpreted information;
- failure by the sender to check for mutual understanding.
- Stress —fear, worry, anxiety, mental and physical exertion, and emotion (which research shows is the basis of up to 70% of decisions!).
- A working environment which hinders —research shows that environment is responsible for up to 70% of behaviour in organizations.
The combination of ‘fog and friction’ results in a gap between actions on the front-line as desired by executives, and the actual actions of people on the front line. In turn, this leads to a gap between expected (or potential) business performance and actual business performance. The challenge of leadership then, is to create dynamic ‘clarity’ and 'emotional engagement' at all levels and across the matrix.
Clarity = Understanding of Context, 'Higher Intent' & Strategy + Clear Authority/Accountability + Dynamic Alignment of Your Plans & Priorities
Emotional Engagement = Pride + Willing Accountability + Discretionary Effort & Initiative to Think, Act, Follow Up & Follow Through
Clarity means creating an effective understanding of context and 'higher intent' —the higher level mission, or desired 'end state' and its purpose, the intentions and plans of your boss and your boss's boss— and what this means for the priority of work and resource allocation; and alignment of thought and activity to that higher intent. The approach to create clarity needs to be dynamic to adapt plans to actual progress and changed context, and systemic to ensure alignment throughout the enterprise. This is what makes organizations agile.
Emotional engagement with the 'plan' and one's role in that plan means creating ownership and accountability, commitment to the organization, and commitment to follow-up and follow-through in your work and release the discretionary effort that makes the difference.
An effective approach (let’s describe it as a 'mission-focused leadership philosophy') must therefore:
- Be durable over time and scalable for growth
- Minimize internal friction and secure emotional engagement
- Break strategy into smaller, more manageable objectives with clear priorities, which when achieved, aggregate to realize the whole
- Limit the impact of fog through the use of “intelligence” (targeted information gathering and processing) and systematic, evidence-led dialogue
- Exploit technology and real time information
- Be dynamic to adapt plans in light of changed context and actual progress made
- Marry decentralised execution through distributed leaders with centralised intent
- Balance control and alignment, with freedom and autonomy
- Ensure that that which is strategically essential is tactically possible
- Build mutual trust and confidence.
- Deliver sustainable competitive advantage and superior business performance
Additionally, our approach must deliver that which research shows is sought by people, especially clever people, at work: purpose (meaning), autonomy (authority aligned to accountability), mastery (development), and trust.
Ask us about Tozer Consulting's well proven mission-focused leadership philosophy, it does everything highlighted here. In essence, it is a dynamic and engaging suite of iterating and recurring leadership practices which simultaneously create clarity and emotional engagement. Our case study results are proof it works.