Strategy is a pattern in a stream of decisions.
- Henry Mintzberg

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How to be Successful with Your Strategy Execution, and Why So Many Organizations Fail to Implement Their Strategies

You’ve done your research and finally completed the strategic planning phase. A good plan is vital, so give yourself the credit you deserve! But, as you are probably aware, strategic planning is nothing without strategy execution.

Here, we will consider some of the steps you should take to ensure you make a strategic impact on your business and achieve your long-term strategic goals. Additionally, we will take a look at why some companies fail in their strategy execution so that we might learn from their mistakes.

How To Ensure Successful Strategy Execution?

When executing your strategy, keeping your team motivated is important. However, it’s also crucial to successfully secure the funding and resources required to achieve your end goals. Keeping this in mind, here’s how to ensure successful strategy execution.

Commit to Your Plan

Before the execution phase can begin, you need to ensure that everyone involved is on board and up to date with regard to strategic planning. Ask if anything is unclear, or if anyone has alternative ideas and talk their answers through until everyone is on the same page. If any stakeholder second-guesses the legitimacy of the plan, they might not put their all into its execution. To put this into perspective, research into companies with weak strategy execution found that 71% of employees believed that elements of the strategic plan were second-guessed. This compared to just 41% at companies showing strong execution.

An across-the-board commitment to the strategic plan will ensure the alignment of stakeholder actions and a shared understanding of the wider strategic goals. That being said, as the execution unfolds, unforeseen opportunities or challenges may arise which might require you to revisit your plan. Flexibility and the ability to adapt are important!

Ensure that Jobs Align with Strategy Execution

Sometimes, for various reasons, an employee’s role doesn’t quite create the strategic impact intended. An employee’s contribution to a business is optimized when their role aligns with the company’s strategy. To commit to your plan, this part of the execution process will require a degree of flexibility. The misalignment is only likely to become apparent during the execution phase.

If an employee’s role doesn’t quite fit, consider how you can adjust their contribution to aligning with the larger strategy.

Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.” 
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last.

Ensure Clear Communication Throughout Execution

According to research, a whopping 95% of employees are unclear as to what their company’s strategy entails. This cannot be the case during the strategy execution phase or else you will be unsuccessful. Daily tasks and decisions made by each employee contribute towards the success or failure of the strategic plan. Make sure that each person is aware of their strategic impact and the responsibilities that come with it.

Consistent communication throughout the execution phase is necessary to empower your employees to do their part.

Monitor Performance

Throughout the execution process, it is important to monitor your progress on the route to your strategic goals. For this, you need progress metrics in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs). You should note the KPIs you are going to use in the strategic planning phase and monitor them throughout execution. Having numeric metrics will allow you to track key data trends. This will help you identify areas in which your execution is running smoothly and areas with room for improvement. 

Balance Innovative Flexibility and Controlled Execution

Maintaining flexibility is important. But, you cannot be overly flexible, as this can side-track your business on the journey towards those strategic goals.

Make sure you have a plan in place for how to respond to developments outside the strategic planning structure. These could be unforeseen barriers or challenges, or new opportunities.

Will adapting to these new developments throw your execution off course? What areas of your plan need to remain unchanged throughout? In this way, you can encourage employees to brainstorm and experiment within a controlled framework.

Why Organizations Fail to Implement Strategies

Insufficient Financing

Good strategic planning considers goals that are achievable in relation to where the business stands pre-execution. You might subsequently realize that your strategic goals aren’t feasible. Perhaps you simply don’t have enough time, or the age-old problem - not enough money!

If so, don’t panic. It is just time to go back to the drawing board and make some adjustments to cut down costs and secure those investors.

A Lack of Stakeholder Engagement

To make a meaningful strategic impact, you need buy-in from everyone or your execution is doomed to fail. Regularly engage with influential individuals and portfolio management to secure their help in ensuring participation from everyone.

Poor Time Management

Unrealistic time frames can be hugely discouraging during execution. They will likely prevent your business from achieving its strategic goals.

Make sure you allow sufficient time for your strategy to take root. This is not a process that can be rushed! Ensure that stakeholders assign priority to strategic impact in order to reach goals timeously.

Your Goals Are Too Lofty

While it is important to dream big, make sure you include short-term goals as stepping-stones towards the larger, end goals. The people on the ground contributing to strategy execution need to be able to see progress. Otherwise, from their perspective, your goals will seem discouragingly unachievable.

You Don’t Follow Up

You can’t create a plan and assign tasks and then leave things to unfold as they will. It’s crucial to continuously follow throughout the execution phase or your plan will likely fail.

Be sure to link your long-term goals to tangible, daily activities that people are held accountable for. A good way to ensure that everyone is doing their part is by linking individual KPIs to activities with a clear strategic impact.


You already have a vision for your business, which is half the battle won. But now, as you hope to see your vision come to fruition, ensure that you follow the tips and avoid the pitfalls listed above.

For further information, please contact:

Krzysztof Janusz

+48 502 732 605

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