A recent white paper written by Deloitte and published by the Project Management Institute stated that businesses who align projects with strategy yield better results in achieving business goals and objectives.

In simple terms, to get to where you want to be you need to align strategies with the initiatives that are going to deliver them. In a previous post, we spoke about how most strategies finish up gathering dust, and it’s this lack of connectivity between strategy and projects that creates this situation.

The report goes on to suggest there exists a lack of communication and collaboration between those who formulate strategies and those involved in executing them. This will not come as a surprise to many of you.

When you execute your training runs, you gain an advantage over those who don’tWhen you execute your training runs, you gain an advantage over those who don’t

Here’s a very simple example. For most people, if they decide to run a marathon they create a strategy involving diet and exercise. The strategy will include training runs and executing that strategy involves going running. Clearly, having the strategy alone isn’t going to ensure you get home in respectable time, only executing the training runs will do that, probably.

Now, I know this is a very basic and simplistic example, but you know what, lots of people throw caution to the wind and just rock up on the day of the race and hope for the best. Some of them complete it, lots of them fail and those who succeed usually pay a high price, sometimes very high!

Sticking with our example of a marathon there’s something else that happens when you execute your training runs, you gain an advantage over those who don’t, and it’s the same with business. Connecting your strategy with the initiatives that deliver it gives you a competitive advantage in just the same way following a fitness program better prepares you for race day.

A structured approach to the alignment of strategy and initiatives can bring many benefits to an organisation. Program managers can see where their work fits in with the work of others and where it is positioned within the overall development of the business. But it doesn’t stop there.

Business owners and those tasked with directing the business can monitor overall progress allowing them to understand what’s working and what isn’t. It also provides the vital information needed to know if or when to pivot.

So often the vital connection between where a company wants to be and the activities required to get it there is missing. The relationship between strategy and strategy implementation just doesn’t exist.

Strategy execution software has its part to play but there needs to exist a culture of collaboration and a recognition of the importance of connecting everything up, a set of protocols and a common language connecting strategy with execution.

Doing this in a way that’s simple with easy access to critical information leads to better decision making and a more continuous and agile approach to strategy execution. It helps organisations allocate their finite resources in the most effective way and flags issues so they can, in some cases, simply abandon an initiative in favour of something that’s more likely to yield a better result.

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