However Beautiful the Strategy…

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Winston Churchill.

Strategic Planning has become almost fashionable in the world of business. Companies of all sizes focus inordinate amounts of time creating strategies; planning strategy implementation; presenting strategies; and launching strategies; but is the same amount of time devoted to checking if this all-important strategy is actually working?

The key to a successful strategic implementation is measuring the results. If you do not check regularly to see if a strategy is achieving the targets it is intended to help you reach, then how will you know that it is working? A common mistake when implementing strategy is measuring the activities rather than the results. For instance, perhaps you want to improve customer feedback, so you realise that you need to send out more surveys to customers in order to gather a wide scope of feedback and find the issues to improve in the company.

The temptation would be to measure how many surveys you send out, or even how many completed ones you receive back, but this will not tell you if the strategy to improve the feedback is working! You need to record the results, in this example, the responses, and see them improve over time to understand if the strategy is working rather than if the activities are being carried out. Yes, it is important to record the activities that are being carried out in order to see that effort is being put into the correct areas, but activities alone is not enough, and you certainly should not report on all of it.

Reporting on absolutely everything will just produce pages of information that does not tell anyone the truth about what is happening. Instead it can go as far as causing confusion and decision making based on flawed information. As Stacey Barr, founder of the PuMP methodology says:

“Results are at the heart of good performance measures; clear, specific, measurable results that come from strategic thinking.”

So before you worry about who should measure what, and what colours the presentations should be to show off your fabulous strategic implementation, start with what results your strategy should be achieving. Measures are born from clear, specific, measurable results.

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