These are also times, in which employees get swamped by initiatives as organisations want to exploit the myriad of opportunities to grow a little faster to get ahead of competitors.
However, some executives have not yet realised that this can have the opposite effect, and instead of helping the organisation achieving their top- and bottom-line targets, you run the risk that the organisation burns out and falls behind.
If we look closer at the root cause for why these targets are not achieved, and why the strategy is not fully implemented, there are a number of dilemmas to be solved.
How to win when there is a lack of transparency and stewardship…?
In service as well as product companies, offerings are often not managed and prioritised based on actual profitability. The proxy measures that are used to manage performance and take investment decisions can be far from the right measures. Worst case, they indicate the opposite of the real picture, causing companies major problems when trying to grow profitable.
Let us take a best-selling product as an example. It often requires all the attention of your marketing and sales departments. The product is likely reviewed based on revenue or a too high-level contribution margin without allocations of sales and marketing or other corporate costs. The excellent top-line performance might turn out to be mediocre once loaded with all associated costs.
That leaves many firms driving ‘blind-sighted’ and oblivious to the fact that the ‘shiny’ offering may be sucking the life out of the company as it is unprofitable.
Who is in charge of the END-to-end customer experience while working in silos with limited collaboration?
When we are trying to beat other strong players in a competitive market environment to grow relatively more, we need to play our A game. This requires everyone to play together as one well-functioning team. Finally, it is crucial for customers to have an end-to-end customer experience, which requires departments to collaborate and have a smooth handover of information.
Let’s exemplify this from the customer perspective. In a lot of industries, we generally hear customers complaining about solutions promised by sales people, which turn out to be not viable. This does not only cause headaches for the customer but also for the departments that need to execute the promised order and find costly solutions along the way.
Suppliers that have cracked the end-to-end code involve the right people from the beginning and cooperate closely across functions. This promotes both customer satisfaction and turnover.
Why are important decisions postponed or not made at all?
Every person has a different perception of reality, which makes it close to impossible to align a group to take decisions in ambiguous situations.
Especially when tough decisions have to be made.
Decisions on future directions in which, for example, legacy products or parts of the business do not fit, are of course hard to make, and it may take years for an executive team to make them.
This in turn is likely to slow down the progress and potential growth that the company could be experiencing if the executive team would be willing to get rid of the slack and focus on the right things.
Some of the most successful businesses continue to reinvent themselves by taking radical decisions. As a quote from Mark Zuckerberg illustrates: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
How to succeed if lacking the right people at the right time?
In many cases, the few star employees and “Doers” are already involved in too many initiatives spread too thin to be effective and are too busy to be able to focus on new strategic initiatives.
Based on the lack of better alternatives other people end up in positions they are not equipped for. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does require a different perspective on the ‘degree of perfect’. So instead of waiting for the perfect plan that is never executed because there is no time, begin to execute instead and simply improve over time.
A wise man once said: ”A vision and strategy aren’t enough. The long-term key to success is execution. Each day. Every day.” (Richard M. Kovacevich)
Originally published in Børsen Ledelse.