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Strategy Not Equal to Results? We Know Why

While all companies have a strategy, most also have an execution deficit. Download this whitepaper to learn how you can get everyone in your organization to take the right actions to produce the right results.

Ocotber 8, 2009
Sponsored by SuccessFactors

In today’s economic environment, the ability to execute is what separates winners from losers. Organizations that prosper turn strategies into returns, employees into engaged team members and executives into winners.

Execution Is the Name of the Game

It’s been validated over and over again — those who execute better win. In today’s world, it’s very hard to have any sustained competitive advantage through superior strategies alone. It’s easy to copy a competitor’s strategy, but much more challenging to keep pace with a competitor’s high performing execution. Improved business performance is not just about leadership and management discipline; it is heavily dependent on execution.

Return on Execution (RoX)

Your business strategy’s desired outcome is probably not much different than that of a sports franchise — beat the competition. In today’s business environment, tough economic conditions are challenging organizations and putting strategy through unexpected hoops. In sports, it may be injuries or other variables that create the unplanned challenges. Both entities are equally driven by individual and team performance, although this is most often underestimated in business. The more management understands the current performance levels of its talent and their ability to address day-to-day business conditions, the greater the opportunity for effective execution.

In sports, the strategy from one game to the next will change based on the recent performance of the individuals and how they match up with the competition. Business is no different. Using the example of strategic sales situations, the sales manager needs to make sure he/she has the right team, performing the right action, at the right time, in order to beat the competition. The manager who understands how to maximize return on execution depends on an awareness of the strengths of the team’s talent in order to execute different “game plans.” The greater the manager’s insight into the performance capability of the individuals and the team, the more likely there will be consistent and quality outcomes. The reality is that management and talent are in the game together and each needs to be aligned, engaged and motivated to achieve expected outcomes.

What Are the Levers That Drive RoX?  

The two primary levers for RoX are business alignment and people performance. It is about making sure that your strategy is understood and the priority for action exists at all levels of the business. This understanding needs to map to an increasing willingness and capacity to produce results no matter where one is within the organization.

LEVER 1: Business Alignment — Doing the Right Things
A company needs to make sure it has the business aligned around its strategy. RoX is about removing the barriers that separate strategy from goal achievement.

Business alignment is more than strategy meetings and pep talks. It’s about building a transparent organization that is capable of rapid change towards a desired business direction. In simple terms, it is having effective and rapid communication of strategy so there is clear line of sight up and down the organization, enabling the right talent to work on the right stuff every day.

Managers should energize, motivate and incite their teams and the individuals within those teams. This will align every individual in the organization around the overall goals that need to be achieved. Alignment around strategy should replace the traditional alignment around hierarchy. When people care and they are incentivized to create value for your customers and shareholders, execution happens.

LEVER 2: People Performance — Making the Most of What You Got
Businesses using business execution software are outperforming competitors both in terms of revenue growth and bottom line results.

These companies are significantly better equipped to execute their strategies, improve productivity and drive RoX. These companies are doing it right and outperforming their competition through a commitment to execution that aligns business and drives people performance.

The typical business that leverages business execution technology reduces its percentage of low- performers and increases its percentage of high performers. In essence, they are developing their low and mid-performers to reach their potential or managing them out of the business and replacing them with higher performing individuals.

An individual’s preferences, motivation and the business strategy are constantly shifting. The company’s ability to measure performance, maintain visibility and manage changes in these areas are consistently outperforming their competition through RoX. When businesses faces a major event, such as a corporate downsizing, acquisition or reorganization, the fastest path to renewed business execution is a talent pool aligned with the new strategy. It is all the more critical that your workforce is fully engaged and recognized for making the right contributions.

Investing in the Ability to Execute

By aligning individuals across the organization and providing increased visibility, accountability and reward for superior performance, managers can lead. The stronger performers will excel and the sub-performers will not be able to hide. The strategic advantage that consistent, trustworthy data provides is not only a competitive value today, but a crystal ball into the future. Anticipating where you have performance gaps and lack of alignment gives you an opportunity to address those issues early.

Business execution software is designed to break down the silos between the multi-layers of an organization. The software provides the “one-to-one” and “one-to-many” connections needed to maintain transparency throughout the organization.

In a marketplace in which skilled talent is in high demand, businesses need to find more and more creative ways to retain and attract a shrinking talent pool. Companies that understand the rich value of strategic data will find it much easier to be creative with their high-performing talent by putting the right people in the right place — executing everyday on the things that matter.

About SuccessFactors

SuccessFactors delivers easy-to-use, on-demand Business Execution software that helps businesses of all sizes align, develop and incite employees. With a suite that includes solutions for goal alignment, performance management, compensation, recruiting and more, SuccessFactors offers the most innovative Business Execution technology available today. To learn more, please visit www.successfactors.com.