Findings - Effective Strategy Execution Survey

More than 100 individuals from 13 countries participated in the survey conducted by the author. The majority of the participants were in executive (33%) or managerial (37%) positions and the majority possessed a business experience of more than 10 years (8% 30-39 years, 23% 20-29 years, 23% 10-19 years). The size of the organizations represented in the survey was wide spread with about half of them being large organizations (46% had more than 1000 employees and 57% had a revenue above 100 million US$) and the other half being mid-sized or small organizations (54% had less than 1000 employees and 43% had a revenue smaller than 100 million US$).

The problem that the strategy execution was found to be ineffective in the Harris Interactive survey[i] as published in the year 2004 was confirmed by the survey of the author in the year 2015 in many respects, even though the responses were slightly more comforting.

The findings in 2004 were:

  • Strategy barrier:
    • Only 37% had a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
  • Management barrier:
    • Only 10% felt that people have clear, measurable, deadline driven work goals.
  • IT barrier:
    • Only 10% felt that success measures are tracked accurately and openly.

The findings in 2015 were:

  • Strategy barrier:
    • Only 29% felt that the organizational strategy and goals are precisely understood by everyone.
  • Management barrier:
    • Only 27% felt that clear and measurable key performance targets are established for each employee.
  • IT barrier:
    • Only 36% agree that all relevant key performance measures are tracked.
    • Only 50% agree that information systems provide accurate and timely info about performance measures.

Several of the recognized deficits from the study in 2004 could be confirmed. Organizations obviously still often lack an effective communication of their strategy and strategic objectives as well as establishing measurable key performance indicators, which align the individual performance objectives with the strategic objectives of the organization. A lacking infrastructure, capturing all relevant key performance indicators, remains a challenge for the majority of organizations.

Additional questions in the survey in 2015 evaluated which of the business intelligence applications for past, current and future analytics as described in the Strategic Business Intelligence Framework are already used, prepared to be used in future or not used yet. Understanding the level of adoption of these different applications allows to identify the status quo of the innovation adoption.

 BI Adoption

Obviously business intelligence is far from being fully adopted and a further diffusion of the innovation can be expected. Participate in the Big Data and Strategy Execution Effectiveness Survey yourself to see how your organization is leveraging business intelligence and how effective the strategy execution is in your organization compared to the other participants of the survey. You can even contact the author to perform a comprehensive organization-specific survey, which helps you to uncover opportunities for improvement on the strategy, management, and IT-level and leads to a more effective strategy execution.

[i] (Covey, 2004)


Kontakt Bernd Heesen 

Book recommendation:

Hard facts dangerous half-truths & total nonsense

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton share their belief in "Evidence-based Management". They explain why companies need it and how it can be practiced. They are stating: "The facts required for decision making are not readily at hand. This is not an excuse for continuing to rely solely on casual benchmarking, past experience, ideology, and conventional wisdom to guide what your organization does now and in the foreseeable future. Companies that practices evidence-based management are committed to doing the best they can with what they have at the time, while taking steps to gather new and possibly more useful information. These companies are relentless in assessing the utility of either new or old measures, and above all, in being ideologically committed to making decisions based on the evidence - both quantitative and qualitative" (p. 19).

They also ask and answer questions like "Do financial incentives drive company performance"? and they debate what kind of attitude and culture should be established in these organizations. Evidence-based management relies on gathering wisdom. The philosophy they encourage is "acting with knowledge while doubting what you know). They recommend the following practices: "Understanding and acknowledging the limits of your knowledge, having humility about your knowledge, asking for and accepting help from others, giving help, and being curious - asking questions, listening, constantly striving to learn new things from the events, information, and people around you" (p. 104).

Explaining their philosophy by sharing stories and examples makes this book an easy read.