By Eric Denniston, Managing Director, Denner Group International
If evaluating the success of your organization’s strategic initiatives seems to be an elusive endeavor, you should find the framework offered by the Strategy Implementation Model and the Strategy Implementation Maturity Survey (SIMS) very helpful.
Much has been written about strategy development, strategic planning, strategic thinking and executing strategy. However, not much has been done to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of strategy implementation systems and processes.
It is common in mature organizations to find well-developed plans and clearly defined strategic objectives, but the consistent concern for those organizations is successfully “closing the gap” from where they are today to where they want to be in the future. Most likely this is due to both a lack of clarity of their road map to success and to weaknesses in evaluating their progress. This is, in fact, a major concern of executives worldwide.
A strategy implementation model is now being used to help organizations evaluate their own sense of gaps in execution, compare themselves with others, and to know how and where to best improve. The model concentrates on four critical dimensions:
- Strategy Creation: Methods used to gather, synthesize and manage vital information to support plans and actions
- Alignment: The degree to which the organization coordinates, cascades, shares and aligns plans and actions
- Execution: The deployment, management and refinement of plans, projects and actions
- Accountability: The utilization of metrics, process indicators and performance management to measure and drive results
Following the maxim “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” the SIMM’s framework is carefully designed to support current best practices in strategic management and to be flexible to adapt to future changes as those practices are further refined. The SIMM offers a thoughtful structure for considering the critical elements nearly all organizations must address in conducting a self-evaluation of the success of their strategic objectives.
The 12 data points that appear in the graph on the right represent each of the 12 questions in the survey. In turn each group of three questions relate to each of the four critical dimension of the Maturity Model.
How well are you evaluating your organization’s ability to cascade and share strategies? How deeply do you reach for feedback on your strategic initiatives? How clearly are team, department and division initiatives aligned with corporate strategies? How effectively are you tracking performance on the prior three questions? The SIMM tool will help you gain answers and clarity on these questions and many more.
Once you have some introspective feedback with a self-evaluation or by having a number of members of your organization participate in the survey, the SIMM provides valuable data to gauge your organization’s performance levels in the four dimensions of the Strategy Implementation Model. Furthermore, you will learn how your firm is performing in comparison to aggregated data from all the SIMM’s participants.
In these early stages, the aggregated data will be limited until a sufficiently meaningful sample can be used to provide industry and market comparisons. For example, above is the type of graph that might help you see where your gaps are between where you perceive your current level of performance to be and where you would like it to be.
The graph on the right includes aggregated benchmark data overlaid on your firm’s data for further comparison. What is interesting is that the aggregated benchmark data roughly parallels this firm’s responses to the survey. Additional graphs are provided along with your firm’s results.
Closing the Gap
For a limited time, companies that have more than 100 employees are invited to participate in the beta version of the Strategy Implementation Maturity Survey (SIMS). Participating companies will provide input and receive results about their comparative performance. They will also receive valuable tips to help them improve.
The survey contains a total of 12 questions and will take 10-15 minutes to complete. You will likely find this a thought-provoking activity that is intended to stimulate a higher level of performance in your firm. As this is a beta version and will continue to be adapted over the next few months, you will be asked at the end of the survey to provide feedback and suggestions.
We will send you your organization’s results, as well as the overall results, as soon as the number of responses from other target companies is large enough to provide reliable conclusions. We will also send out and post articles on the web on strategy execution best practices and lessons learned. Please contact SIMM below to participate in the survey. We would also welcome your contributions.
Strategy Implementation Consortium
Strategy execution experts have partnered together to establish the Strategy Implementation Consortium. The model and survey have been designed by this consortium. The consortium’s purpose is to help businesses significantly improve their ability to successfully implement business strategies. This purpose is supported by:
- A strategy implementation maturity survey to best help businesses quickly and accurately assess their strategy implementation maturity levels
- Collecting strategy execution best practices and lessons learned in various environments\
- Providing training and consultant services to help businesses apply best practices based on their current maturity levels and desires to improve