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New Research Reveals CEOs Overestimate Their Company’s Ability to Execute Strategy

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Category :

BTS Research Based on a Survey Conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit Exposes Top Strategy Execution Drivers 

BTS, a leading strategy implementation firm, today announced the release of “Cracking the Code: The Secret to Successful Strategy Execution & Lessons for the C-Suite,” a research study based on a global survey of over 200 executives, senior leaders and managers conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit. The research exposes the critical enablers of effective strategy execution, details the leadership actions and behaviors that deliver the greatest impact, and explores key organizational challenges and disconnects that companies must overcome to achieve success.

Navigating from strategy to execution, companies face an apparent disconnect between the expectations of various levels in an organization, starting at the top. The research reveals that CEOs are likely to significantly overestimate their company’s ability to execute strategy, and may be missing opportunities to take the necessary actions to drive effective execution and skill development. More specifically, considering managers’ ability to lead successful execution:

  • 39% of CEOs are highly confident
  • 12% of other C-suite executives agree
  • 24% of managers share the same positive outlook.

Moreover, CEOs are also more likely to view their leaders as hands-on—53% vs. 31% of other C-suite members and 37% of managers. “Cracking the Code” explores how to maximize the full potential of strategic initiatives by focusing on the people part of the execution equation.

Top performing companies – yielding significantly higher revenue growth, profitability and market share – take the necessary actions to ensure that employees are aligned to the company strategy, have the right mindset, and are equipped with the skills and capabilities necessary to execute. However, the research suggests that not all strategy execution drivers are equally important. The study identified capability as the single most critical predictor of an organization’s success.

To ensure superior strategy execution, companies must look beyond initiatives that build alignment – and proactively facilitate skill development and deep commitment by immersing leaders in the strategy. Traditional strategy communication and “push” methods alone – town hall meetings and leadership presentations – are no longer enough to maximize results. “Strategy execution is comprehensive and demands a robust response,” said Rommin Adl, BTS executive vice president.  “To maximize impact, organizations are best advised to embed execution plans early in the strategy formulation process and target initiatives that directly address capability gaps, develop leaders’ mindset and commitment, and build company-wide alignment.”

Respondents to the survey represented a diverse range of geographies and company sizes across 19 industries and 15 business functions. Forty-three percent of respondents were within the C-suite.

For more insights and key findings, read the full research report on BTS’ web site at:


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