You had finally decided on a handful of innovations that were going to accelerate your business, but then, as if figuring out how to execute those ideas successfully wasn’t hard enough, the pandemic hit. Now, the path to success is even more complex.
It’s enormously disappointing when your opportunities don’t realize their potential. But what if you already had the invaluable intelligence in your possession to solve your problems?
Rather than guess at what will work in this volatile time, business leaders will get better results using the tools already in their possession — data embedded in their business — to contend with the root cause of their strategic problems: execution readiness.
When companies lack execution-readiness insights and pursue initiatives they aren’t well equipped to execute on, their innovative ideas can fall flat. In the age of a new normal where resources are scattered and the landscape changes daily, execution readiness will dominate as the root cause of missed opportunity.
By using data to gauge execution readiness and navigate this new operating environment, companies can choose either to pursue only the initiatives they are best positioned to carry out successfully or to make adjustments to their people, processes and technology that will position them for success.
Let’s look at the root cause of why companies struggle to execute their innovation and growth strategies and, more importantly, how to apply data to thrive in the new normal.
Intuition Is Out; Data-Driven Decision-Making Is In
With markets reflecting the new-world economic realities, the already well-documented statistic that only 50% of strategic business decisions succeed will worsen and impact businesses more than ever. Initiatives fail when decisions are made on intuition, not data. Using data effectively, however, is easier said than done.
The pervasive problem affecting businesses at every level is that leaders rely far too much on intuition and biases, which provide unreliable results. In McKinsey’s global survey on strategic decision-making, researchers learned that “at companies where executives rate their strategic decisions overall as good, they are much likelier than others to say the company’s assessment of its own capability to carry out the particular decision was realistic, regardless of whether this decision had a good or bad outcome. Indeed, at companies with good overall processes, realistic assessment of execution capabilities is the third highest-rated activity.”
Now, more than ever, leaders don’t have the resources to waste on hunches and should instead turn to execution-readiness data. Harvest this data to make objective, measured decisions, and you’ll not only solve your strategy problems, but also set your innovation free by bridging the gap between your ideas and execution.
Identify Vulnerabilities Before You Start
Save yourself months of analysis by injecting this information early enough in the decision process that you can recognize an idea that won’t work right away. “This is a solid idea, but we won’t be able to execute it at this time.”
If you still believe it’s the right idea, you can say, “We first have to remove some obstacles in our business. Do we have the money for that?”
What if you’re forced to move on an initiative because of a change in the market, or you have to get something done within a certain time constraint even though you still have obstacles in the way?
For example, with the pandemic driving higher demand for medical equipment across the globe, GE employees recently protested to have the company shift all jet engine factory production capacity toward the production of ventilators.
By running an execution readiness assessment (which can be done in as little as one day), GE could quickly remove the biases that detract from a clear understanding of capability. Then, it could identify the vulnerabilities that will impact the changeover in manufacturing and take corrective actions to mitigate the impacts. This assessment and subsequent correction would allow for an accelerated transition, which, in the end, may save lives.
Knowing what vulnerabilities lurk on the execution path in advance of committing resources is the most sought-out intelligence leaders want. No one likes surprises that limit opportunity.
Driven from 20 years of academic research, the most influential areas of impact are captured in these 14 domains of scoring: alignment, technical capabilities, management, technical environment, priorities, stakeholders, business process and rules maturity, business capabilities, governance, decision-making, subject-matter understanding, organization adaptability, criticality and vision.
By measuring (rather than using intuition or guessing) where the vulnerabilities are, a corrective action plan can be immediately fleshed out and put into action.
Returning to the theoretical application in GE’s manufacturing shift, the company’s vulnerabilities lay in its operations. Once identified, GE could act quickly to allay these vulnerabilities before the switchover started.
For other companies, changing market conditions are outpacing traditional methods of decision-making, causing ideas to lose value faster than leaders can get them out the door. By leveraging an execution readiness score that removes biases and gets straight to the problem areas, leaders can realize faster decisions and a more precise go-to-market.
A New Model For The New Normal
In the face of market disruption around the world, we’re living and working in a new model that may or may not revert to what we understood up until now. There’s less room for error and waste as businesses pursue new initiatives, so we must plot our courses of action with more informed decision-making than ever before.
As business leaders, we must adjust our approaches to leverage every asset we can get our hands on. Fortunately, the most valuable asset, understanding our own execution readiness for each idea we have, is right inside our own companies.
Now, all you have to do is go harvest it.
Source: Forbes, 2020