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:

Intelligent organizations

Markus Schwaninger provides recommendations how to deal with the increasing complexity. Based on Schwaninger, intelligent organizations adapt to the changed circumstances, influence their environment, potentially seek new milieus, where they can survive, and thereby make a positive net contribution to their viability.

He proposes to use the "Viable System Model". He describes some of the deficiencies of traditional organizations, where much of the responsibility is delegated up the hierarchy instead of counting on personal responsibility. In the Viable System Model the contribution of individuals on all levels is of major importance. Between the bottom and the top of the hierarchy there are systematic recursions of feedback which enable them to learn from each other. This model helps employees on all levels to better understand the world from the perspective of their managers, which allows them to make their decisions based on a reflection of the operational as well as strategic objectives. Such a system enables an effective co-operation. Employees can act self-organized in many situations based on the availability of critical information. In this scenario, managers only need to deal with what is left over for them to take care of, which Schwaninger calls "residual variety" (p. 16).

The key to the absorption of complexity by the organization is the structure of the social system, which should be based on (p. 28):

  • Self-control: A system's ability to control itself, which includes setting and adjusting its own goals, as well as autonomous adaptation.
  • Self-organization: The autonomous, often spontaneous formation of relationships, activities and structural patterns.
  • Self-reference: A system's capability to reflect upon itself, and therewith on aspects such as its identity, values, purpose, goals and tasks or activities.
  • Self-transformation: The ability of a system to reorganize and restructure itself.