Studies have shown that up to 90% of strategies fail to implement. The key reason for lack of implementation comes down to business execution and the inability to mobilize the entire organization towards a common outcome. You probably read a CEO survey that prioritizes this as a concern. So why does this continue to occur, given the awareness of the problem? In this article, you will learn what market leaders do differently. You will also find 3 recommendations for how to mobilize your organization. Lastly, download SBI’s Annual Research report here. You will discover the 4 simple truths market leaders use to separate themselves.
What Do Market Leaders Do Differently?
There are 3 key areas they focus on before deployment of the strategy.
- Executive Alignment and Collaboration
- Functional Execution Plans at the Executive Level
- Ensure Execution Plans Are Built down to the Employee Level
Let’s unpack each of these.
1. Executive Alignment and Collaboration
Over the years, I have participated in several annual strategic planning meetings. The lack of healthy debate occurring in the boardroom always surprises me. You see conversations around the revenue plan, product development, M&A, among other initiatives. Still missing is the postmortem on the previous year’s initiatives. What goals did you set, and did you achieve them? More importantly, what were the bottlenecks you observed? What prevented the team from achieving the full potential? A healthy debate around these topics ensures greater alignment between executives. See page 2 of the GTM Interlock tool here to start the conversation.
Lastly and most importantly, market leaders do less. Cramming too many initiatives in too short of a time is a recipe for failure. In addition, market leaders understand the concept of being stage appropriate. Ask the question, “What capabilities and capacity do your teams need to do this work?”. You will find the answer will help unlock bottlenecks.
Use a simple framework of Discuss, Debate, and Decide. Start by laying out the previous year’s “big bets,” and assumptions. Then discuss the bottlenecks that got in the way of exceeding goals. This will provide a foundation for next year’s bets.
2. Functional Execution Plans at the Executive Level
Market leaders focus on programs vs. projects. Executives view the annual planning process as an event. We call this type of thinking, “incrementalism.” Companies then struggle with the ever-changing needs of customers, competition, and market dynamics.
For market leaders, a programmatic approach is clear and unique. They outline what will be done as well as what will not be done. This plan extends over a 3-5 multi-year strategy. Then they break down to yearly goals and quarterly sprints. This is all harmonized cross-functionally so that “outlier” initiatives do not corrupt the plan.
Assign accountability for the program. We typically see this fall under Revenue Operations or Revenue Enablement. During planning, ensure that all functions use the same data to make assumptions. This is your data architecture and cleanliness plan. Design a cascading KPI platform that is real-time. Lastly, ensure every function has execution plans that line up with the bets. You can also review the “8 Disciplines of Sales Execution” article here.
3. Ensure Execution Plans Are Built down to the Employee Level
Weekly priorities down to every employee are important for purposes of clarity and certainty. Market leaders understand this concept and remove the ambiguity. They align a series of weekly tasks back to the quarterly sprints. This makes it clear for the individual and allows for agile adjustments. Employees now understand if they had a good or bad week. It also signals to leaders whether progress is being made towards quarterly goals. This operating rhythm was something that separated market leaders from their peers. The GTM Interlock Tool is an example of what market leaders use.
Have each leader work with employees to outline what defines a “good week.” Ensure this is documented and part of the coaching cadence across the organization. Finally, integrate into employee development plans, performance management to compensation plans.
If the lack of execution is a recurring theme inside your organization, then these 3 key recommendations are for you. This is what the top 16% of market leaders are doing to outpace the market and competition. How far down the organization does your execution plan reach? If you are interested in learning more, check out SBI’s Annual Research Report. You can also accelerate a month of work in 8 hours by booking a workshop at the Studio.