Nearly every company invests time in strategic planning. Yet there are some frightening statistics around how the execution of strategy is planned and managed that would indicate that there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.
90% of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully. Kaplan
50% of managers could not name one of their top five strategic objectives. HBR
61% of executives struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and execution. PMI
85% of leadership teams spend less than one hour per month on strategy, and 50% spend no time at all on strategy. Kaplan
It is common for leaders to say that they don’t have time for a formal strategic planning process and execution cadence. This is often related to being too busy working on the everyday BAU or firefighting to come up for air.
Strategy, goals and agile execution are designed to cascade priorities throughout the whole organization. Companies that have clarity on priorities don’t get caught trying to do too much and do not risk burnout.
Formal planning and execution processes give employees the frameworks to assess priorities and apply time in an efficient and effective manner. Which is why leadership should make strategy management and delivery a priority by itself.
Not everyone gets what strategy is and what it isn’t. But given the lack of time and resources given to strategy and its delivery, it is not surprising there are knowledge gaps.
To be good at defining and delivering strategy you need a framework, training, and a cadence or rhythm. These take commitment because they take time and energy to learn and become great at.
ZOKRI allows organizations to define, share, manage and report on strategy using strategic frameworks like Balanced Scorecard and Strategic Pillars, goal frameworks like OKR, SMART, 4DX or hybrids, and then align executional methodologies like Agile. Guiding best-practices at every step, systemising alignment and operationalizing performance.
Sometimes we hear statements like, “things are changing all of the time so what is the point, stay agile!”
Agile is an executional framework that still requires direction and measurable outcomes. High performing teams and companies know they need both. Define where you’re going in the long-term, set measurable outcome based goals and align short-term agile executional cycles like SCRUM with those goals.
What would be the value of succeeding with strategy and unlocking human capital?
The answer is, huge, with an equally huge cost being associated with not succeeding.
Some of the drivers of success are the quality of the use of your chosen frameworks, the levels of awareness and engagement with strategic priorities and goals, the adherence to the update and conversational cadences, and the effectiveness of collaboration on goal achievement and issue resolution.
Slides, sheets and big or even small strategic documents are not very good at this and are where strategy, goals and KPIs get lost and often die.
Systems are set-up to make the use of frameworks easier, guide the quality of the inputs, and ensure updates and collaboration happen, not to mention making meetings and reporting easy. Why would you put your precious strategy in a range of generalist tools with a track record of mediocre performance?
The most aligned and engaged organizations work top-down and bottom-up. The strategic direction being set from the top and the detail of supporting goals being defined by the teams below because they know the most about their areas of expertise, the opportunities and what can and should be done.
Naturally, being actively involved in the process also increases strategic awareness, and provides a sense of ownership and accountability, whilst improving cross-functional collaboration.
It is amazing how often teams describe how the everyday takes over from being able to work on what was defined as a strategically important goal. We call this BAU takeover and it appears to be normal, widespread and inevitable if you don’t put the correct systems and processes in place to prevent it happening.
If your strategy is either poorly defined, overly complex, or spread across lots of documents – ZOKRI will make communicating your strategy, using Strategic Pillars / BSC / OKRs / SMART / 4DX or hybrids, easy.
We can then simplify your reporting against strategy and make what is for many, hard and time consuming, really easy.
Being good at using frameworks like OKR, and other outcome based goal setting methods, is not easy for many – with OKR leads and managers often needing to invest lots of time helping.
ZOKRI has best-practices inside workflows that make it more likely that companies become mature at using OKRs quickly. OKR best-practices are followed throughout the organisations without widespread OKR lead support, leaving the lead and manager support to focus on specific areas of greatest impact.
KPIs, for those really good at using goal frameworks like OKR, are used in a complimentary way. So ZOKRI makes it easy to see use and discuss KPIs alongside OKRs, with both being aligned with Strategy.
Great goal management means having the ability to define and stick to important goal cycle stages. Stages like goal proposal and sign-off, weekly check-ins, team review meetings, and end-of-quarter retrospectives.
With ZOKRI, goal cycles are defined and are then managed in the application and supported with notifications and alerts, including when success milestones have been reached or problems encountered.
Goals in an ideal world are outcome based. The work we do to achieve them have many names e.g. Initiatives, to-dos, projects, sprints, and epics.
With ZOKRI, it’s easy to set outcome based goals and connect work, either using ZOKRI’s own project / task functionality or by connecting existing team tools like Jira. This helps discussion not just about goals but how you go about achieving them.
If we accept that firefighting and BAU take-over will happen if left unchecked then we can build systems and processes that stop that from happening, by design.
Frequent conversations about priorities (strategic, goal and tasks) are the first step. The second is to make work visible in a central place – when we can see each other’s priorities we are less likely to overload colleagues.
All of which is easily accomplished in ZOKRI.
ZOKRI helps organizations unlock the benefits of strategic and goal setting frameworks like OKR. Systematically ensuring strategic alignment, and keeping teams engaged and focused on achievement throughout the quarter.
“I took the time to enter our executive OKRs into 3 platforms to test and demonstrate them to the broader team, after investigating 9. I found that ZOKRI was considerably easier than the others to enter the data into.
Beyond the ease and intuitiveness of the platform, the actual structure of the OKR builder was the most comprehensive. It easily accommodated % based Key Results and even allowed me to create thresholds.
Finally, having KPIs and OKRs separated but living in the same system is wonderful. The ability to have KPIs and OKRs in a team meeting or a dashboard whilst maintaining their separate functions, complex health metrics and working priorities is incredible.”
Director of Culture – GoCanvas
There are lots of important decisions that you need to make when you roll-out OKR in your organization.
There are also a fair number of critical decisions that will have a huge impact on the success or failure of your OKR initiative, and the right answers are not always obvious and can be nuanced.
ZOKRI are experts in helping leaders understand the decisions that need to be made. We ensure leaders make the right decisions. Decisions that will lower the risk of OKRs not working well for you, whilst massively increasing the probability of success. Let us help!
Operationalized & Systemized Performance
If you then choose to use our OKR software (or any software), it can then be configured to reflect your decisions, with the outcome being you will have designed ‘your way’ of using OKR and will have operationalized and systemized performance improvements.
“Consultations do not take long and they are not expensive. They will save you time and money, and put you on the path to unlocking the value of OKR to drive performance improvements much faster.”
Get introduced to our team, learn more about how we run successful projects, our software and our success stories.