Strategy Execution Is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It.

Our experts provide a hub and spoke framework for optimal execution across the entire organization — every time.

Published on Jun. 14, 2024
Strategy Execution Is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It.
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Today, in a race to win market share or obtain a target earnings per share, there is a “ready, fire, aim” approach to how organizations execute projects. The art of execution is getting lost in the crossfire.

Our goal is to provide direction around organizational alignment as an essential ingredient in effective execution.

What Are Lead and Lag Measures?

Lead measures are the numbers you’re hoping to or predict achieving in the future. For example, if you want to grow your revenue by 10 percent, that 10 percent is your lead measure.

Lag measures are the numbers that reflect the current state of your business, which you receive when it’s too late to pivot. Some examples are quarterly profits or monthly sales.

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Why Do Strategies Fail?

Once a company identifies a strategic initiative, it must create a detailed project plan across all departments. The more detailed the plan, the more likely you’ll be able to execute it in line with your original goals.

Projects typically underwhelm or fail due to issues like these.

Poor Communication

Teams often work in silos with key performance indicators that don’t align with the project’s goals. This lack of coordination leads to fragmented strategies.

Inadequate Resources

Without sufficient resources, projects lack the support needed for comprehensive development, limiting their potential for impact.

Lack of Collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration is often minimal, causing teams to miss opportunities to share valuable insights that could improve the project.

Ambiguous Strategy

Projects without clear goals and timelines often drift, leading to unmet expectations.

Resistance to Change

Employees frequently struggle to adapt to new processes, hindering progress.

Organizational Design

If the organization isn’t structured to execute well, projects will inevitably struggle to succeed. Improving these aspects through better organizational design ensures the ability to execute, driving projects toward success.

 

Track KPIs Across Every Department

Companies have $100 million annual recurring revenue aspirations with a $10,000 ARR budget. Executives want to go fast but cut corners to get there.

When is the last time you recall sitting down to figure out how everything will come together to ensure that every cross-functional team has skin in the game?

Execution based on key performance indicators is critical for any organization striving for success. Beyond setting ambitious goals, it’s about defining clear, measurable steps that align with our strategic objectives.

By embedding KPIs into every department’s daily operations, you provide a road map that clarifies expectations and focuses efforts. This approach ensures that every team knows the goals they need to achieve and how their contributions propel the company forward.

To effectively implement this, you must foster a culture of transparency and continuous feedback, where leadership regularly reviews and updates KPIs to reflect evolving business needs and market conditions. This process encourages accountability and drives performance, transforming strategic visions into realized achievements.

 

Incorporate Agile Methodologies

Adopting an agile mindset and methodologies gives cross-functional teams a framework that is both flexible and structured, allowing them to collaborate through iterative development and continuous feedback.

Agile fosters communication in diverse teams with ceremonies like standups, program increment planning and retrospectives. It’s an easily adaptable framework that emphasizes transparency and frequent interactions, breaking down silos.

While agile is useful as a product development methodology, organizations usually only practice it on the development side and not on the business side.

 

Optimize Execution With Hub and Spoke Design

No matter what unit you work in (sales, product, development, operations, marketing, etc.), we all have a responsibility to one another. Despite all the planning and strategy sessions that take place, however, none of the KPIs cover team accountability.

This often results in missed targets and finger pointing. In order to execute to perfection, every department needs to have skin in the game. Take a look at this example.

Let’s say a company is trying to grow revenue by 10 percent across a product line. This is your lead measure (your main KPI). But what are all the lag measures that need to be set up by each team to achieve this goal?

 Let’s break down our execution design.

A hub and spoke design with product development as the hub and development, marketing, sales, customer success, quality assurance and UX/UI design as the spokes.
Image created by author(s)

The product team acts as the central hub, driving the overall strategic direction and interfacing with all spokes.

Each functional area — design, development, quality assurance, marketing, customer success and sales — operates as a spoke that connects back to the hub, ensuring that insights and feedback flow back to the product team for integrated strategic adjustments.

Once each team maps how they contribute to ensuring the success of the project, we have the basics of what an optimal execution plan looks like. Our hub and spoke framework adopts the key values of being nimble from agile methodologies and applies it cross-functionally to each team.  

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Keep Checking In

Organizations should hold a biweekly meeting where each team can give their honest assessment of how these KPIS are coming along. Then they can make adjustments to ensure there is support and alignment across the organization.

This also comes in handy once you release a project into production. Being able to react quickly and make adjustments can help companies determine how to quickly salvage a project or consider the investment not worth sinking more dollars into. It’s a rapid iteration process that helps align the company across all department functions.

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