Closing the gap between strategy and execution

Worldwide, only 10% of businesses effectively implement their corporate strategies, which leaves a staggering 90% that never make it past the planning stage. Why? What’s going wrong? What’s causing the gap between strategy and execution?

In our work with leaders at LCP-Global, while competency in a specific area may be evident, the prevailing issue is not competency but capacity or the lack of it. We see many competent leaders struggling to implement strategy.

We believe this capacity drain—evident in a lack of momentum, energy, focus, and implementation—can only be fixed by the power of alignment.

Alignment closes the gap between strategy and execution and transforms leadership capacity.

So the question then is, how do you increase capacity through alignment? And before we tackle capacity, how do you identify the gap? This is where leaders must be honest with themselves and vulnerable with others. You can’t address what you don’t acknowledge. Alignment starts with those at the top; if leaders are lost, it filters down through their organizations.

It’s a complex issue, so much so that I based my doctoral research on it and recently wrote a book on the subject,

"Early in my research, the power of alignment became a significant discovery. It went beyond aligning efforts with goals, to recognizing a clear relationship between the alignment of a leader’s values (more specifically, character) and focus (momentum) against their goals in order to achieve consistency and sustainability (performance)."

- Dr Glenn Williams, When Leaders Are Lost
The very first leadership anchor we identified as important for leaders to focus on if they were to achieve alignment, was the quality of their relationships. Do your relationships inspire and energize you? Can they endure challenging seasons in your life and speak truthfully and honestly into situations without fear of retribution? What relationships are at the heart of your business or teams’ inability to successfully execute strategy?

Redefining success

What does “success” look like for you personally? For some, it’s in maintaining the status quo. For others, it’s about discovery, innovation, and solutions. It comes down to what you value and why. For those determined to keep it business-as-usual to avoid failure, fear is often at play and likely learned early in life.

This can manifest in behaviours and outcomes like ‘analysis paralysis’, with strategies being altered within an inch of their lives and never quite making it to delivery. With 90% of company strategies failing to launch, most of us have experienced the frustration of seeing months of work relegated to a folder in a file.

The paradox is that if you never execute – you’ve already failed – so why not just do it and take the risk? I believe it speaks to just how risk-averse we are as people. And if we’re personally risk averse – regardless of the words we speak – our people, teams, and staff will also be risk averse. If “success” is the only option, it doesn’t encourage people to take risks.

The power of alignment to increase capacity and close the gap.

So, how do you get from here to there? As leaders, the first thing we need to do is look within. Are we the ones sabotaging the execution of corporate strategy? How can we increase our capacity using the power of alignment to bridge the gap between strategy and execution?

Leaning into The 5 Leadership Anchors

This game-changer was the result of research that uncovered the power of alignment. In talking with CEOs and executives across industries worldwide, we hit on the profound disconnect between the publicly espoused values of organizations and the personal values of those at the top. There’s no way around it. If they aren’t in alignment, capacity will wane, and strategy and execution will rarely, if ever, meet.
The 5 Leadership Anchors, when applied by those at the top, bring cohesion to companies at all levels.

The bottom line

Once leaders are aligned personally and professionally, the key to consistent strategic execution is implementing a system that operationalizes alignment across the business.
While it might sound like a tall order, we’re working with companies doing just that, and it’s working.

If you’d like to discover the power of alignment for you and your business, find out how you can bridge the gap between strategy and execution at lcp-global.com.

Glenn Williams


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