Do you ever feel pulled in too many directions at once? If you do you are not alone. A recent Booz & Company survey of more than 1,800 executives found that almost 2/3s said their biggest frustration is having too many conflicting priorities.
Added to this problem is the existence of incoherent strategies that don't differentiate the organization or don't align with corporate goals. More than half of executives (56%) said that their biggest challenges are ensuring that day-to-day decisions are in line with strategy and allocating resources in a way that supports strategy.
What's really disturbing in the findings is the majority of respondents (52%) did not feel their organization's strategy would lead to success. A whopping 81% said growth initiatives lead to waste some of the time. And here's a stat I know IT professionals will relate to: 82% said that functional departments in their company get competing demands from different business units. It's no wonder that so many workers feel confused, frustrated and pulled in too many directions that are not leading to successful results.
It all starts, of course, with problems in how companies set and communicate strategies. Paul Leinwand, co-author of The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy, says, "We passionately believe companies must choose what they will be excellent at-what they will do rather than just what they sell." Unfortunately, the Booz research found that the majority of companies (57%) create strategy by "pursuing a broad portfolio of strategic options and spread the risks" or by "choosing an attractive market and figuring out how to be successful in it." Only 43% of respondents said that strategy creation starts from the inside at their organization; in other words looking at what they are excellent at doing and finding new ways to capitalize on those abilities.
The rewards for getting this right are many-more satisfied employees and greater profitability and revenue growth for the company. What's your company's process for crafting strategy? Do your company's capabilities support the strategy? If not, is anyone at the top trying cognizant of the problems?