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)


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Book recommendation:

Beyond performance

Scott Keller and Colin Price explain how to establish "ultimate competitive advantage". Yes, they use superlatives in their heading but they follow up by providing a useful framework to assess your organization's performance and health. It includes the five frames: Aspire (where do we want to go?), assess (how ready are we to go there?), architect (what do we need to do to get there?), act (how do we manage the journey), and advance (how do we keep moving forward?) (p. 20). Assessing the organizational health examines 9 dimensions on a scale from ailing, able to elite: Direction, leadership, culture and climate, accountability, coordination and control, capabilities, motivation, external orientation, and innovation and learning (p. 60). Knowing what you want to accomplish and how ready you are to get there provides a solid foundation to take the next steps...

Well, as always, even the best ideas from a book do not make a difference if they are not put into practice. Keller and Price conclude with stating that many managers talk about what they WANT to do and what they'll TRY to do but little actually gets done. "It's because the language they use betrays inner doubt. At the first sign of resistance or challenge they back down, reverting to the approaches they are comfortable with" (p. 241). Other leaders talk about what they WILL do and what they can be counted on to accomplish. Which group do you belong to?