Execution Challenges

I’ve had this post on the Barriers to Strategy Execution tagged in my Bloglines account for several weeks now and every time I stumble back across it, I find myself wondering “which of these nine execution challenges are the most important to tackle first when trying to move an organization forward?”

Here's a list of the primary execution challenges, based on surveys of organizational leaders:
  1. Inability to manage change effectively or overcome internal resistance to change.
  2. Strategy conflicts with the existing organizational structure.
  3. Poor or inadequate information sharing among individuals or business units responsible for strategy execution.
  4. Unclear communication of responsibility and/or accountability for execution decisions or actions.
  5. Employees' lack of feeling of ownership of a strategy or execution plan.
  6. Lack of guidelines or a model to guide strategy execution.
  7. Lack of understanding of the role of organizational structure and design in the execution process.
  8. Inability to generate buy-in or agreement on critical execution steps or actions.
  9. Lack of incentives or inappropriate incentives to support execution objectives.

From my 15+ years in libraries, my sense is that that numbers 2 and 5 are tied in the first position followed by a rapid domino effect of all the rest. But I’m wondering what you think … What would you put at the top? Which of these do you think are the hardest for libraries to tackle?

BTW: The good news for me (at least in my current position) is that I see lots of these potential dominoes quickly dissolving. And it’s amazing for me to be part of an organization that is fueled by so much shared passion to serve our customers even better.


sylvie said...

I think 4 prevents you from even starting... or at least it may cause false starts, or "bad" starts.

it then spurs 3 and 5 and 8...

CK said...

I think 2 and 3 are the biggest challenges for libraries - which lead right into 5 being the next problem. I debated adding a #10 "Lack of commitment to the strategy", or, "ever-changing strategy", but then I thought maybe that's what we staff think when 3 and 4 are going strong. I'm not sure which it is, but I'm thinking #10 isn't off base.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the biggest challenge listed--lack of leadership. Without good leadership the pieces crumble and everything is doomed to fail. Not only that but you have to be willing to make hard decisions. Not everyone is going to like your decisions or you for that matter. But it is important to make decisions and keep moving forward even if in the short-term it seems like an unpopular way to go. In the long-term when people see results they will respect you.

I see too many new leaders afraid to make waves, change, or decisions. They hesitate and do nothing and lose more respect than if the charged ahead.

Anonymous said...

@ Lori

True. I think #4 and #5 are most important in this respect.

Leaders must communicate what they expect to happen when implementing changes and keep everyone in the loop if unexpected things cause a shift in focus. Don't make too many off-the-cuff or unilateral decisions. Not consulting the "base of the pyramid" only leads to more uneasiness towards work, the organization, and people who lead the organization. Most importantly, those we serve will feel that "vibe" exuding from individuals who feel this way.

Also, if results aren't forthcoming, "engaging the team" will still earn/keep that respect you mentioned.