All too often Businesses Fail on Strategic Goals

I was astonished to see the results of the recent MPI annual survey of business leaders.

On average, companies around the world acknowledge that they achieve only 64% of key strategic goals each year. The real figure might very well be much higher.

Analysis published last year suggests that improving this figure by even 2% would have a disproportionate impact on company results, improving key performance indicators by as much as 60%.

Why on earth is the success figure so low? Everyone is working harder than ever before. Leadership teams are made up of highly competent people.

The UpAGear customer survey tells us that 54% of members of executive teams believe that their own leadership groupings are broadly ineffective: ineffective at building positive cultures; ineffective at decision making; ineffective at making full use of team potential.

Amazingly, 33% of members also think that their own team is poor at managing change. 39% of them openly acknowledge a lack of trust that exists between their peers.

Worse still, 60% of our CEOs privately say that members of the teams they lead often put their personal and functional needs well ahead of the organisation’s overall success.

Of course, you can quibble with the figures. The reality may lie up or down a few percentage points, but the broad message is clear. The senior leadership teams of many companies are performing well below their potential.

What can be done about it?

Team performance coaching can really help and there are plenty of people out there who are offering variations on the theme.

Some of them will want to make you cold, wet and frightened, seeking to bind you more closely to your colleagues through the shared experience of deprivation. As a retired soldier I recognize the undoubted value in such training.

Others will be keen to work with your individual team members. More still, will be interested in helping to build the basic blocks of a strategic vision by creating a shared mission, values and outcomes.

In my hunt for a really top-class methodology to follow, I have found that only very few companies can provide all these important functions and then take them to their logical conclusion of improving overall performance and output. For most the process goes only part of the way.

Katzenbach and Smith in their fantastic 1993 book “The Wisdom of Teams” broadly define a team as being:

“a small group of people sharing complementary skills, committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”

Very few systems offer their clients the obvious and necessary final step of creating and executing a plan that will move them towards their agreed purpose and which will tightly monitor its execution.

The whole point of such coaching work is to improve outputs. So, should you be looking to make use of external expertise, I strongly recommend that you find someone who employs a methodology that offers at its core a detailed mechanism for overseeing the successful execution of a plan.

Of course, I have my own answer on how do this. So, of course, do others.

Dialogue International works with our partners at MPI to deliver team and individual coaching services using the UpAGear.

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