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Business Execution Excellence: Challenges and Solutions

You see it everywhere in the media right now–“Business execution leads to greater success”. How can you create the foundation for business execution that moves your organization from “strategizing” to “executing”?

Your strategy, people, and work processes need to be effectively linked for true business execution excellence. Problems occur when companies have a brilliant strategy, but fail to execute. What went wrong? Why do so many companies fail to execute? What is stopping them from being successful?

Execution excellence is achieved through the precise implementation of two things:

  • Business alignment: Specific, quantifiable goals (SMART goals) aligned with the organizational strategy.
  • People performance: The right people with the right skills in the right jobs doing the right things.

Preparing an organization for business execution excellence requires a detailed understanding of the people and strategies within the company. Executives need to create and communicate the business goals and have a process in place where employees’ individual goals are cascaded and aligned to support the big picture. Employees need to know where they fit in–what they need to do and how it supports the organization. Business execution is not easy, but it is worth it. It requires overcoming one or more of these key challenges:

Has your organization defined its strategic goal(s)?

Business execution cannot occur until there is something to execute. The first step begins with the organizational strategy. A good strategic plan provides a "big picture" that enables managers to see and anticipate execution problems. From this plan, managers can meet with employees to establish SMART goals that support the organization’s goals. You can’t execute until you have the plan, but, on the other hand–just because you have the plan, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to execute.

Does everyone know what they should be working on?

The business execution plan must be communicated to and understood by the entire organization. These days, companies struggle to share information through complex, geographically spread out organizations. You need to get the message out to everyone–all across the board, from top-to-bottom. Without guidance, individuals do things they think are important, often resulting in uncoordinated, even conflicting decisions and actions. Goal alignment to the strategic plan ensures that each person within your organization can see the direction for the business and know how their job fits in with the “Big Picture”. Without the benefit of a logical approach, strategy execution suffers or fails because employees won't know what steps to take and when to take them. Having a model or roadmap positively affects execution success.

Do you have an engaged workforce?

Making execution work requires feedback about organizational performance and then using that information to fine-tune strategy, objectives, and the execution process itself. Employees who clearly understand their individual goals–and how they relate to the larger goals of the company–naturally become more engaged with their work. Successfully executing companies realize that their achievements are linked to their ability to manage, track and communicate goals–informing their workforce and linking reward systems with individual and team performance to keep them engaged in their work. Without clear responsibility and accountability, execution programs will go nowhere.

Are you maximizing the potential of your employees?

One of the greatest challenges faced by managers is the strategic personal development of employees in order to ensure effective use of talent. Keeping your employees engaged and motivated is the key to a successful, highly-productive workforce. When you effectively manage, motivate and empower employees, will be rewarded with higher rates of employee engagement and retention. This leads to an organization staffed with a workforce of people who are highly productive, skilled and committed to doing their very best on your strategy execution plan.


A critical issue to point out is that business execution is a process without an end. Although broad strategy and direction will not waver, the things you do, and in what order, will continually evolve due to changing conditions in the world around you. A business execution plan will enable you to deploy a great strategy and ensure that your employees are executing on it every day. Align your goals, people, and work processes and you have a great start to successful strategy execution and a more profitable business.

About SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite helps you completely reinvent the entire employee experience. You can shift from traditional HR transactions to engaging, end-to-end experiences, using intelligent technology to make each interaction simpler and more meaningful. And by linking employee feedback to operational data, you’ll understand what’s happening and why, so you can continuously deliver unexpectedly exceptional experiences that keep your business growing.

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