Chief Strategy Officer Summit: Misalignment Is Costly

Categories:
Conferences, Strategic Planning

One of the best parts of working at Achieveit is keeping up with all the latest and greatest ideas in the strategy industry. To that end, I was fortunate enough to attend Innovation Enterprise’s Chief Strategy Officer Summit in San Francisco.

The Chief Strategy Officer Summit

The Chief Strategy Officer Summit is a conference dedicated to strategy professionals discussing best practice, reviewing case studies and solving problems. I had the pleasure of participating in a lecture presented by Adrian Coppini, General Manager of Advice Strategy for Commonwealth Bank, titled “Leading from the Front”.

Commonwealth Bank is the largest financial institution in Australia, and Adrian is tasked with completely redesigning the way his institution engages with clients. As Adrian walked through his journey of transforming his organization, he touched upon a few statistics that stopped me in my tracks.

Strategic Alignment Lessons Learned at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit

I talk about the importance of strategic alignment on a daily basis. All of my clients will agree that alignment is important, but I’ve never been able to quantify the cost of misalignment – until the Chief Strategy Officer Summit.

In his presentation, Adrian included a slide that walked through the findings of a Project Management Institute study focused on project completion. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Projects not aligned to strategy are completed 48% of the time vs. 71% of aligned projects.
  • 3/5 projects are not aligned to organizational strategy.

What does all of this mean?

Maligning your projects to organizational strategy results in a 52% failure rate.

That’s a staggering statistic when you layer in the fact that $109 million is lost for every $1 billion invested in organizational projects. It proves that strategic alignment is more than a buzzword, and it deserves all of our undivided attention.

Strategic leadership is hard work, but the stakes are too high to not tackle the problem head on. Think of where your organization would be if you completed 23% more your projects.

To further drive this point home, one of the presenters at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit stated that a Leader of Strategy is someone with the courage and competence to inspire and mobilize us to fully realize a strategy that takes us to a better place. A real leader understands that the path to strategy realization is difficult, and they’ll need to arm themselves with the right tools to help in the fight.

Some of AcheiveIt's executives enjoying dinner at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit.
Some of AcheiveIt’s leaders enjoying dinner at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit.

Final Thoughts on the Chief Strategy Officer Summit

What really struck me at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit was something I have been saying for a long time: strategy on its own is not enough if it is not properly aligned and executed.

One of the main value propositions of Achieveit is that we help organizations bridge the gap between strategy and execution. I am referring to the gap that exists between the strategies you put on paper and the strategies you actually complete. I personally believe that the tools in the marketplace, e.g., Excel and PowerPoint, were not designed to help people get things done.

I would venture to guess that the high failure rate of projects has a lot to do with using the wrong tools. Excel, PowerPoint and Microsoft Project have been around since 1985. Yet with them, we are still not excelling at execution.

What I learned at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit is that maybe it’s time to look at the problem from a different angle and learn more about a tool purpose built to help with the exact problem I outlined above. To me, that solution is obvious and is one I am proud to help improve day after day: AchieveIt.

If you want to know more, then take a look at the AchieveIt Execution Management Platform.