Author(s): Mankins MC, Steele R
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Abstract Despite the enormous time and energy that goes into strategy development, many companies have little to show for their efforts. Indeed, research by the consultancy Marakon Associates suggests that companies on average deliver only 63\% of the financial performance their strategies promise. In this article, Michael Mankins and Richard Steele of Marakon present the findings of this research. They draw on their experience with high-performing companies like Barclays, Cisco, Dow Chemical, 3M, and Roche to establish some basic rules for setting and delivering strategy: Keep it simple, make it concrete. Avoid long, drawn-out descriptions of lofty goals and instead stick to clear language describing what your company will and won't do. Debate assumptions, not forecasts. Create cross-functional teams drawn from strategy, marketing, and finance to ensure the assumptions underlying your long-term plans reflect both the real economics of your company's markets and its actual performance relative to competitors. Use a rigorous analytic framework. Ensure that the dialogue between the corporate center and the business units about market trends and assumptions is conducted within a rigorous framework, such as that of "profit pools". Discuss resource deployments early. Create more realistic forecasts and more executable plans by discussing up front the level and timing of critical deployments. Clearly identify priorities. Prioritize tactics so that employees have a clear sense of where to direct their efforts. Continuously monitor performance. Track resource deployment and results against plan, using continuous feedback to reset assumptions and reallocate resources. Reward and develop execution capabilities. Motivate and develop staff. Following these rules strictly can help narrow the strategy-to-performance gap.
This article was published in Harv Bus Rev
and referenced in Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review