10 Principles of Strategy Execution

The Brightline™ Initiative is a coalition led by the Project Management Institute together with leading global organizations dedicated to helping executives bridge the expensive and unproductive gap between strategy design and delivery.

Like the Agile principle which helps in delivering the Software, Brightline has listed the 10 principles that can help in achieving the Strategy.

Those who are not from a software background might not know that before the Agile practices of developing the software came to picture, the software was developed using the model called “Waterfall model”, where software was delivered taking 9 to 12 months. And by the time the software was shown and delivered to the customer, customer requirements and expectations from the software have been changed.  Then came the Agile principles, where software was delivered to customers every 2 weeks. This has lead to a better understanding of what the customer wants out of software and reduced the overall cost in developing the same.

Now think of Strategy deliver in your company. Being from the Software background, I can clearly see the Strategy a.k.a the business plans a.k.a growth goals are still getting delivered in the waterfall model.  Many Strategy Heads, CEO offices and PMO offices are living in “Waterfall model” age, where the focus is on Governance, following the same old processes that cause the delay in the actual execution. But I feel with Brightline initiative, the thing might change, and it will bring the Agile like principles in delivering the Strategy.

Here is the brief summary of Brightline 10 principles :

Principle #1 – Acknowledge that strategy delivery is just as important as strategy design: Strategy is not just a fancy word for the business plan. Bringing your strategy a.k.a business plan needs more than just annual offsite. The implementation plan to get execution done needs to be created in a way that it actually leads to the getting execution done.

Principle #2 – Accept that you’re accountable for delivering the strategy you designed: Once you have defined the strategy, your focus should shift to overseeing the progress of implementation so that the strategy delivers results and achieves its goals. You need to know what is your company execution velocity and how the program managers are performing on the identified growth goals and the people who are moving slow on the execution.

Principle #3 – Dedicate and mobilize the right resources: Strategy deliver is a team game. To achieve your strategy to get executed, you need to enable your program managers to easily identify & build the team that will help you achieve the growth goals/objectives which will ultimately help in achieving your strategy.

Principle #4 – Leverage insight on customers and competitors:  No plan survives contact with the enemy. To course correct your growth goals and objectives, keep talking and listening to your customers and leverage insights from your competitors. Otherwise, you will end up executing a plan which might not be relevant to current market conditions.

Principle #5 – Be bold, stay focused and keep it as simple as possible:  Your team may end up losing focus on the growth goals and objectives which will help you achieve your strategy because of day-to-day operational urgencies. By keeping the plans simple at the same time bold will help bring back the focus on execution.

Principle #6 – Promote team engagement and effective cross-business cooperation: To gain the buy-in on executing the growth goals you need to involve the people who will be actually doing the execution. As a leader, CEO and Strategy head, you need to communicate with them, engagement them in the process of creating the plan and keep explaining to them why we are doing what we are doing.

Principle #7 – Demonstrate bias toward decision-making and own the decisions you make:  Many plans fail and keep the pace with changing business conditions. At qilo, while implementing our solution across different companies, we have seen that it’s far difficult to update those metrics and milestones that help the team to achieve the growth goals. And this happens because the process of making these updates are complex and bureaucratic. By keeping the governance process simple, you can always empower your people to change/adjust the plans per the internal and external business conditions.

Principle #8 – Check ongoing initiatives before committing to new ones:  Strategy is delivered by identifying few strategic initiatives and then linking the growth goals that will help you to achieve those strategic initiatives. Many times leaders end up starting the new strategic initiatives before the previous initiatives see the light of the day. Avoid committing to new things before you finish the previous one.

Principle #9 – Develop robust plans but allow for missteps — fail fast to learn fast:  Even the best people and teams fail to deliver. It’s up to the CEO and CEO office, Strategy head to create the environment where failures are acceptable and seen as learnings.

Principle #10 – Celebrate success and recognize those who have done good work:  This is where most companies fail. CEO office, Strategy Heads and Program managers fail to recognize the people who are actually executing the growth goals and demonstrating the habits that are leading to execution. People who are involved in the execution of strategic plans are doing those in addition to their day-to-day operations, recognizing them is crucial for the success of achieving your growth goals.