Overcoming the Most Common Obstacles in Strategy Execution

Strategy execution

Strategic planning is simple. Anyone can create a document labeled “strategic plan.” The true art is in the execution of the strategy. A strategy is a compass that governs all company activity for many organizations. It is what determines future success. However, the majority of organizations struggle when it comes to strategy execution. Numerous kinds of research support this claim. According to a study by HBR, strategy execution is the most common challenge faced by organizations today.

While strategy execution may often seem to be a tough nut to crack, determining the root cause is actually where the issue lies. Individual employee performance might sometimes cause execution failure, but that doesn’t really happen when there’s a culture of accountability. Unexpected market shifts, such as unpredictable oil prices, are sometimes to blame for missed plan targets. These issues are difficult to address from a leadership standpoint. In most circumstances, the team has a viable approach. It just fails during the strategy execution phase. So, we’ll look at the most common obstacles in strategy execution to ensure your organization’s strategy execution remains unaffected. We will also learn how these obstacles can be tackled, leading to organizational improvement and more effective execution of strategy.

Strategies to overcome the overcome the obstacles in strategy execution

1. Having no clear objectives

Have you ever been given a directive to ‘raise sales’ or ‘reduce costs’? These objectives may serve a bigger strategic goal for the company, but they are scarcely actionable for individuals in charge of implementation. The issue is one of detail; the intentions are not wrong. In fact, they are most likely working together to develop a successful approach. Without precise instructions on “how to” and “how much,” stakeholders are frequently left guessing.

Leaders require more specifics on where to invest time and resources in order to make a difference. To tackle this issue, ensure that your objectives are as specific and clear as possible. This is where the goal-management approach, the OKR software, comes into the picture. The OKR management approach helps you to establish clear goals and support them with measurable key results.

2. Absence of buy-in from the stakeholders

Securing the support of stakeholders for your proposal begins with a thorough understanding of all its elements. Additionally, stakeholders must comprehend the reasoning behind the plan. This includes how the plan aligns with strategies relevant to their specific duties and responsibilities.

Often, your managers and staff will ponder the question of how the plan will benefit them personally. Leaders and team members will regard important objectives and methods less as mandates when they own the spirit behind the plan. Instead, they are more of a must for both their individual success and the firm’s overall success. A meaningful sense of ownership is established when all relevant stakeholders believe they have a hand in the plan’s development and communication. When management and employees feel heard, the company will take ownership of its execution.

3. No visibility of the progress

The necessity of visibility in plan execution begins with developing trust in all stakeholders. Not only do you have faith in the important strategies and problems, but you also have faith in the strategic plan’s focus and resources. The right people are making that progress at the right time to ensure the firm’s success. Create a series of cascading reports and insights that highlight strategic plan success and are relevant to the group of employees reading the information.

Begin with a high-level corporate overview and gradually increase reporting visibility. As you cascade, sharpen your focus on important objectives for managers and business units. The purpose of visibility is to improve understanding of strategy implementation progress within the organization. Concentrating solely on the leaders at the top of the business is insufficient. Spending time highlighting critical tactics throughout plan implementation helps build buy-in across the organization.

4. Lack of alignment

Accomplishing your company’s objectives is only feasible if your team’s priorities line with these objectives. Because routine tasks are easier to complete, many firms favor nonstrategic activity over strategic objectives. However, if this task does not connect with your strategic business goals, it will be far more difficult to accomplish.

The key to attaining good strategic alignment is clearly defining your organization’s strategic objectives and assigning these tasks to team members across the hierarchical structure of your firm. This method encourages total strategy support, prioritizing, and facilitation. By getting an OKR management framework, you can easily align your team’s objectives with the business’s mission and vision. This will also add meaning and value to the minds of your employees, as they understand how their contribution helps the organization achieve its bigger objectives.

5. Improper communication of the strategy

Communication problems can jeopardize strategy execution. To guarantee effective strategy implementation, you must clearly communicate your plans to your staff. As a result, it’s critical that every person in your business understands your strategic plan and how their unique responsibilities contribute to the overall aim.

You may encourage more successful strategy execution by giving your employees the information they need to comprehend your business plan. Remember that quality is more important than number; in other words, a few meetings and emails clearly describing the plan will be more beneficial than several gatherings with confusing language.

To ensure that your organization never fails at effective strategy execution, book a consultation call with the experts here!


What are the common obstacles in strategy execution?

Common obstacles in strategy execution include lack of alignment, resistance to change, inadequate resources, poor communication, and lack of accountability.

How can a lack of alignment be overcome?

Lack of alignment can be overcome by involving key stakeholders in the strategy development process, communicating the strategy clearly, and establishing a shared sense of purpose and direction.

How can resistance to change be managed?

Resistance to change can be managed by involving affected parties in the change process, communicating the reasons for change, and offering support and training during the transition.

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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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