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By Mike Beier, ContXt CEO – No matter how great an organization’s strategy is, the true key to success is execution. And with 87% of organizations never fully realizing the execution of their strategy, according to Dan Prosser in Thirteeners, it’s evident much work needs to be done.

At ContXt Corporation, we use a three-phase, seven-step process to help organizations elevate the collective capacity of all people to support strategy execution and achieve higher levels of performance. Through the three phases – define, align and sustain – we ensure support from the top and motivate and manage from within.

Each phase and step along the way is necessary. But the very first step is absolutely critical: Ensuring leadership understands the need for change and identifies a sponsor who will be active and visible to both create and build support for the change initiative.

Sponsor and Change Team

Good sponsors can get involved with resistance, as well as communicate directly and authentically. They can influence and are seen as credible at all levels of their organization. And they can create a compelling vision for the future.

Sponsors need to be joined by change agents, a group of leaders who can enact change at the frontline and influence broader parts of the organization on implementation. Titles are not important when it comes to these members of the change team, who can begin to map support among employees and other stakeholders and get a snapshot of an organization’s readiness to change – and identify where there is energy and early successes.

ContXt works with organizations throughout the seven-step change process, developing a rollout plan to sustain momentum and change habits. Our approach employs the teachings of John Kotter, author of Leading Change and a leader in change management theory, as well as organizational engagement best practices.

Executing Strategy

Identifying a sponsor and change team, building alignment through true organizational understanding of the vision, and establishing the groundwork to continue and sustain support are three foundational keys to strategy execution. Most people are open to change, but many obstacles stand in the way. We forget, we’re creatures of habit, and change seems daunting so people don’t know where to start. Inertia sets in. Strategy execution requires daily focus, rigor and communication.

What techniques do you use to sustain strategy execution?

Mike Beier is the founder and chief executive officer of ContXt Corporation, a management consulting firm based in suburban Toledo, Ohio. ContXt helps organizations achieve strategic objectives by translating big concepts – including strategic plans, culture shifts and process changes – into engaging learning experiences. At the end of the day, we help get employees at every level on the same page to achieve strategic objectives. For more information about ContXt, please visit contxtcorp.com.