Organizational strategies result in the definition of comprehensive programs, projects and initiatives to achieve desired objectives. By necessity, these programs are monitored at a tactical level to ensure that each detailed milestone is reached to progress the overall strategy forward.
Unfortunately, monitoring at a tactical level makes it challenging to understand status of the higher-level strategic objectives. Today, many companies address that challenge with significant manual effort. Tactical project managers provide details about their specific areas of ownership and the Program Owner or PMO aggregates content from all projects to prepare executive briefings. The effort to produce these executive briefings is time consuming! In fact, a study completed by Bain & Company estimates that companies spend 300,000 hours a year supporting weekly executive briefings.
While that volume of time is staggering, the more detrimental issue is the delay in providing information to the executive team. Strategic decisions are made based upon dated information. By the time the aggregated information reaches the executives, it is often too late to course correct, to help their teams clear hurdles, or to take advantage of new opportunities. This inability to make quick decisions is a critical issue and contributes to the strategy execution gap.
In reviewing this challenge, Gartner’s Donna Fitzgerald raised this key question: what approach must organizations implement to help executives make better, faster decisions so that they can pivot quickly to achieve greater strategic results?
The answer is that companies must work smarter, not harder. Gone are the days of brute force use of spreadsheets to track information, presentations to communicate it, and an army of people to maintain it. The smarter, more agile company connects the strategy with the performance information real time and generates always-current briefing decks.
As competition increases and resources become more constrained, it will be the smarter companies that succeed. Providing accurate information faster to drive executive decisions will be a powerful competitive advantage and will help to close the strategy execution gap.
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