If an employee walked up to you right now and asked you what your overarching corporate strategy is, would you have an answer for them?
Surprisingly enough, most companies and leaders will. Not what you thought I was going to say, was it?
You see, companies have gotten really, really good about creating strategies. You can read hundreds of blogs and download tons of templates about creating a strategy. Executive teams spend hours and hours in boardrooms and behind closed doors and bring in experts from around the world to help formulate their plans. After all that work, FINALLY a plan gets put down on paper and the strategy is formed.
And then what? Here are some statistics to show you what happens.
1) Only 5% of employees are aware of the company’s strategy. In fact, 71% of employees couldn’t pick out their company’s corporate strategy based on a multiple-choice question.
You would think that communication of the strategy would be step one, but it seems companies do a poor job of communicating the strategy that they spend so much time and effort to develop. When a strategy isn’t communicated properly, it can cause confusion with employees and leave them wondering why certain decisions are being made. The context that a strategy provides to overall business decisions keeps team members on the right path and makes it easier to understand when a decision is made that seems different.
2) Only 2% of leaders believe they will achieve at least 80% of their strategic objectives.
So, why do we go through the whole process of creating a strategy and communicating it with our teams if we don’t believe that we will accomplish them anyway? This lack of confidence can easily travel throughout an organization and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you, as a leader, don’t believe in your own objectives, how can you expect your employees to believe in them and work hard to accomplish them only to come up a little short every single time! This is a demoralizing position as an employee and could lead to some pretty big employee retention and culture issues.
3) 20% of companies review their objectives monthly and measure progress.
Now, I am writing this blog in August which means that you have had 7 full months into your business year. How are you doing on those objectives you put forward on Jan. 1? When is the last time you checked in on the teams that it effects? Do they have enough resources? What are the problems they are facing in accomplishing their goal? How do you know if they are falling behind if you don’t ask? For me, this has to be the biggest reason that most companies won’t reach their objectives in a given year. It’s because us, as leaders, don’t keep track of our progress or evaluate how we can better help the people who are working towards that goal that we set forth.
These statistics around executing a corporate strategy should tell you something – that we aren’t very good at it as leaders. While we have become very good at sitting in conference rooms and envisioning where we want to see our businesses, we often sit back at the end of the year with our goals only partially accomplished and employees that feel like they were set up to fail.
How will these statistics change the way you look at your objectives for this year? How about for 2020?