Gauge Which Activities Aren’t in Sync with Your Strategy

Gauge Which Activities Aren’t in Sync with Your Strategy

by Nick Chipman  |   10:00 AM March 14, 2014

Take this brief assessment for feedback on how to improve strategic alignment in eight key areas.

Most organizational leaders struggle to align day-to-day activities with strategy, even though they know it’s important to do. Almost 80% of the more than 1,200 senior executives recently surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers believe that their organizations have the right strategic intent — but only 54% think they’re executing that strategy well.

Why the gap? Let’s compare two fictional companies to see what’s involved.

The first — which we’ll call Company A — focuses on translating its strategy into action as quickly as possible. Right away, the senior management team converts its PowerPoint decks into a road show that explains the strategy, develops a comprehensive implementation plan, sets up a program management office, establishes steering committees, assigns roles, and even starts restructuring. But after six months the plan starts to falter. Leaders and their teams are strapped — and competing — for resources. Distracted by pet initiatives that have little to do with the new strategy, they revert to old habits. They struggle to manage tensions between units and to realize value across them.

Company B takes a different approach. Before rewiring operations, leaders:

wrestle with the nuances of the strategy

diagnose how well the organization’s activities are currently aligned with it

cease any strategically unimportant activities

identify capabilities vital to the strategy

establish decision rights

begin modeling behaviors that support the strategy

gauge performance and risks with leading and lagging metrics that reflect the company’s priorities.

This whole process puts leaders in a more constructive mind-set and tends to defuse political jockeying, defensiveness, excuses, and blame.

Company A’s leaders have intellectually bought into their strategy and execution plan, but through their discipline and hard work, Company B’s leaders have built emotional commitment, as well, which will give their efforts more staying power. As Company B’s leaders turn their attention to operations, they make sure all the elements — processes, people, capital and organizational structure, and technology — are in lockstep with what the strategy demands. Leaders help engage the rest of the organization by clearly articulating people’s roles and modeling the actions required to deliver results.

That’s what alignment looks like. It’s not easy, and it never goes off without a hitch. But in the end it’s actually much more efficient than diving right into a reactive, short-term operational overhaul.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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