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7 Tips for Better Strategy Execution

7 min read
7 tips for better strategy execution

Making the most of your strategy

Understanding strategy execution is the first step in implementing it for your organization. But improving the strategy execution process is just like improving the strategy itself — you can’t focus on everything all at once. Some efforts produce greater results than others.

Through our exploration of strategy definition, deployment, execution, and optimization, we’ve distilled some best practices for strategy execution. These tips are by no means exhaustive, but a practical starting point for mastering your strategy execution journey. In this article, we’ll dive into: 

  1. Team responsibilities
  2. Corporate strategy
  3. Finances
  4. OKRs and KPIs
  5. Information silos
  6. Micromanagement
  7. Alignment

Tip #1: Be crystal clear on individual responsibilities

Imagine an organization where nobody knows who is working on what projects or who to report to. How can collaboration, accountability, and alignment thrive in this environment? Clarity is the catalyst for efficiency.

Clarity is a general concept thought leaders love to throw around, but where does clarity get tactical and practical for you? Successful strategy execution requires clear decision-making. 

 

Uncertainty between the decision-makers creates conflicts within teams, leaders, and processes. 

 

For example:

  • If a leader assumes another is making the decision (but they aren’t), time is wasted
  • If a leader believes they have decision making rights (but they don’t), conflict is created
  • If a team member goes to the wrong leader for approval, time is wasted
  • If a leader needs approval from another leader, who needs approval from another leader, inefficient bureaucracy is reinforced

Endless scenarios can demonstrate the chaos that ensues from poor clarity. Larger organizations are especially vulnerable, as leadership may frequently change and roles grow more ambiguous.

Clarity creates visibility. Visibility creates accountability. Accountability creates measurable results. 

Tip #2: Make corporate strategy approachable and scalable

Clarity doesn’t stop with individual responsibility. Corporate strategy can be painfully vague and ambiguous, which is why it depends on clarity for its execution — a clear strategy is an approachable one. Without a clear corporate strategy, business and functional strategies can’t inform their processes. The strategy chain is broken before it can begin! 

Why is clarity (leading to approachability) actually important? 

 

Clarity and culture

When the corporate strategy is transparent and well-understood, it allows information to flow fluidly throughout the organization, reducing the lag between strategy and execution. As corporate strategy informs business and functional strategies, it creates a symbiotic relationship — an approachable corporate strategy is healthy strategy execution. 

Approachability isn’t enough, however. Building a scalable strategy means dedicating the right resources for deployment, execution, and optimization at any level. 

But why scalability? 

 

Scalability and saving

The strategy that works for 10 people likely won’t work for 100 people. The same goes for the jump from 100 to 1,000. The difficulty of strategic communication compounds as your organization scales. Building strategy to scale is ensuring that in six months or a year, you don't have to completely redo the structure and approach of your entire organization. 

By being more intentional about the scalability of your corporate strategy upfront, you’re saving time and money in the future. 

Tip #3: Align finances with strategy planning

Imagine it: you’ve built the best strategy in your industry. It’s guaranteed to shake up the competition and thrust your business into the forefront of your customers’ minds. Everyone is excited about the rollout, leadership is bought in, and the figurative runway is ready for takeoff! 

Just one problem: you forgot to talk about costs. 

 

A great strategy without the resources to execute it is pointless. 

 

Finances raise the question of practicality — can our ambitious strategy actually be deployed? As noted in Clear Point Strategy, creating the financial plan in a silo, away from the strategy, is a recipe for making both processes ineffective.  

Financial resources should be an active consideration and part of the strategy, instead of being plugged in at the last minute. This is not possible without clear communication about the strategy and cross-collaboration between appropriate departments. 

Don’t sabotage your strategy before it has a chance to be executed. 

Tip #4: Incorporate OKRs and KPIs in strategy planning

Improving practicality helps every level of your organization. Performance management indicators strengthen your strategy by making it measurable. Beyond strength, indicators keep your business’s health at the forefront.  

OKRs and KPIs are practical tools that help close the gap between strategy and execution. Without them, your execution has a weak connection to strategy. 

 

OKRs

OKRs help you create smarter goals. Ambitious objectives combined with the proof of key results are a long-term solution for deploying strategy. Objectives may shift as your strategic priorities do, while key results enforce actions that drive real impact. 

Because OKRs are a transparent system, accountability becomes a pillar in strategic planning. Initiatives are clearly tied to impact, and the feeling of ownership enables the alignment of individuals to functional and business strategy. 

Interested in OKRs? Read our article Objectives and key results explained .

 

KPIs

KPIs (key performance indicators) can be incorporated into OKRs, providing a purely quantitative feedback loop. As the health monitor of your active goals and ongoing, business-as-usual processes, KPIs can be fine-tuned to reflect your strategic priorities. 

As a bonus, automated KPIs allow minimal effort for endless returns. The habit of strategic check-ins will naturally extend beyond KPIs too, creating higher chances of success for your strategy execution. 

 


Learn more in our article OKRs vs. KPIs .


Tip #5: Identify and clear information silos

How silos occur, and their impact, is (usually) contextual to the size of the organization. Information is at the core of communication and process in your strategy. 

In a startup, information silos prevent the innovation and speed the organization thrives on for its competitive advantage. In full-scale enterprises, they cost billions of dollars in inefficiencies and disruption. Clarity continues repeating as a theme for our tips, and for good reason. 

 

The free flow of information from top-to-bottom creates more opportunities for collaboration and promotes organizational efficiency. 

 

So how can you clear information silos? Identify ambiguity:

  • Where are processes being held up?
  • Who are key decision makers?
  • What is repetitively causing friction?

Typically, creating more transparency in your strategy execution process reduces bureaucracy leading to information silos. A system like OKRs ensures transparency is more than an afterthought. 

Tip #6: Eliminate micromanagement

Hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions play into strategy execution, so the more frequently one decision corresponds with one person, the more effective your strategy execution process will be. 

When ample time is spent defining and deploying the strategy, teams should have a clear vision for executing it. Clarity enables autonomy for team decision-making, assuming leaders and managers trust them. Micromanagement, however, plagues organizations of all sizes when leadership doesn’t trust its teams. 

Micromanagement doesn't just hinder employee efficiency and confidence — it’s simply not practical for the modern operating model. A culture of second-guessing from leadership comes from the inability to delegate. As Harvard Business Review suggests, unnecessarily cascading decision-making crushes accountability in teams and eliminates efficiency.  

Tl;dr — managers have roles for a reason and so do individual contributors. Influence from leaders in the organization should be about guiding process, not controlling it.

Tip #7: Work aligns to strategy, not the other way around

Managing expectations is a renowned piece of advice for leaders. However, what your teams are traditionally responsible for and what the strategy calls for may not always align. 

For example, a manager may be hired to do a job that aligns with the previous strategy. After a strategic shift, however, that manager’s expertise is no longer aligned with the strategy, creating inefficiencies and friction for that manager and their teams. 

What’s more effective: changing the entire strategy to fit the needs of one person, or adapting the role to fit better within the strategy? 

Strategy can’t work if parts of it are cherry-picked or molded to static job responsibilities. 

 

The strategy must exist because it is effective, not because it fits in a box. 

 

Your organization must create work and jobs that connect to the strategy. Work for the sake of work, or work because “it has always been this way,” is not effective. 

Data from Harvard Business School backs this up: jobs that align to strategic needs contribute to better-performing strategy execution.

Make your strategy work smarter

Clarity. Alignment. Transparency. All critical characteristics in the tips you’ve learned for strategy execution. But what’s next? 

Along with the guidance from our strategy execution guide, you’ve got a starting point for creating, deploying, and executing a strategy. It might be tempting to jump in head-first and start defining your strategy immediately. But why work harder when you can work smarter? 

 


At Gtmhub, we’re committed to helping you bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Inspired by the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology, our platform is designed to help you align your teams, improve focus and foster transparency. 

Quick-start your OKR journey with ready-to-go OKR templates from our Marketplace or connect with 160+ Integrations to update your OKRs and KPIs automatically to easily make data-driven decisions with our customizable Insights and Dashboards. 

Ready to achieve your most ambitious goals? Start a free trial today or book a demo to see Gtmhub in action. 

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