Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 Ways HR Can Lead Strategy Execution








There is a reason why two-thirds of all strategy fails...IT'S EXECUTION.

After the strategic planning session is over and the t-shirts and coffee mugs are passed out, the strategy just gets stuck.  In our experience it gets stuck somewhere between Director level and the line level employee.  Here are the reasons we find when we do some digging:

1) The strategic plan is so complicated and no one understands it
2) Employees do not know what to do different in their jobs
3) Managers are not given the tools to communicate the strategy
4) Goals and objectives are not cascaded down to the lowest level
5) Rewards and performance measures are not tied to the new strategy

So, since HR is jockeying for strategic partner status, why not figure out this problem with execution and lead the charge!

Here are 7 ways HR can make a difference in strategy execution:

1) Be a part of or lead the strategic planning process so HR is involved at the beginning
2) Assist in the creation of a SIMPLE document that communicates the plan that is easily understandable for ALL employees
3) Align HR strategy to the new strategy so that all HR programs can impact strategy
4) Redo job descriptions updating new behaviors and/or competencies needed to make strategy successful
5) Align all rewards and performance management to desired outcomes
6) Assist departments to develop goals and objectives needed to execute
7) Assist departments in developing metrics to track progress

I am sure there are more than 7 ways HR can impact execution, how have you assisted your organizations in the strategic arena?

12 comments:

Sergey Gorbatov said...

There is an article called "The Execution Trap" in the most recent issue of Harvard Business Review (July-August). Some interesting insights on different ways how organizations approach execution. The main idea is that "downstream" execution should be aligned with "upstream" thinking and vision. HR should play a pivotal role here particularly removing hierarchical and silo barriers, facilitating communication and ensuring performance.

My favorite quote from the article: "A strategy that fails to produce a great outcome is simply a failure" .

Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR said...

Sergey:

Thanks for reading and I will read that article you mentioned thanks for the suggestion.

Love the quote!

I agree with the roles that HR can play the barriers issue is a big one...I have seen that impede execution many times.

Cathy

Michael D. Haberman, SPHR said...

Great list Cathy. Thinking big is only half the battle. Doing big has to go with it. This is also a good way for HR to be recognized for its strategic value. And if no one invites you to do it, then do it anyway.

Chris Young said...

Your post is dead-on Cathy! HR has a tremendous opportunity to take the lead on strategy execution from a talent management focus and demonstrate the value it can provide.

I have included your post in my Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2010/08/the.html) to share your tips with my readers.

Be well!

Chris Young said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Young said...

Your post is dead-on Cathy! HR has a tremendous opportunity to take the lead on strategy execution from a talent management focus and demonstrate the value it can provide.

I have included your post in my Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2010/08/the.html) to share your tips with my readers.

Be well!

Cindy Lund Chow said...

Great article Cathy!

May I add that metrics have to be aligned with both short term and long term goals and be focused on input as well as output. In my experience metrics are often more focused on short term outputs and therefore only support short term goal achievement such as this months target achievement. Having a balance will ensure success in the short as well as the long term.

Thanks again for the words of wisdom!

Sameer said...

Great post Cathy. Like IT, for the last decade HR also seems to have been subsumed in block and tackle and cost cutting with labor transfer. In addition to your excellent points, new innovation in technology and collaborative processes that finally put people (not systems) in the center of process will give HR the opportunity to lead the next wave of org transformation.
As you correctly call out though, HR will need to become central to the execution process.
Again, really good stuff. Cheers

Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR said...

Thanks Sameer for your kind words and for reading my blog. I agree with your point as well PEOPLE have to be in the center of the process, after all people have relationships with customers not technology!

Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR said...

Hi Cindy:

Thanks for reading. I agree metrics have to be both short and long term. I think employee and managers need to know where they stand almost on a daily basis. Great feedback!

Thanks!
Cathy

Brian Shepherd said...

Cathy, I have done some study and consulting on strategy execution and have completed two papers that may inform this discussion.
In June and July, I conducted a Linkedin poll "What Is the Primary Reason for Poor Strategy Implementation?" available at http://lnkd.in/PCiTyi
Yesterday, I published "Implementing Strategy Successfully: Ten Keys for Strategy Execution Leaders" available at http://tinyurl.com/2exsfdz
Interestingly, when we present our solution to HR leaders, the most common objection is that they already have a performance management process within the HR function.
I hope you find this interesting for yourself and your blog audience.
brian@accountcaffeine.com

Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR said...

Thanks Brian. I will read your papers thanks for posting those. I think your response from HR leaders is exactly the issue. It's about performance management as a tool, but that is NOT how you implement as you well know. So, my message is that HR should be involved in this ever so important process....

Thanks for reading!