On Strategy Execution beyond a Plan – It’s About People Engagement

Over the last 20 years I’ve had the good fortune of studying, along with advising some wonderful companies and company leaders. In assessing their organizations strategy deployment plan successes and failures I have learned some key elements to executing strategy that tend to get over looked, or are undervalued more times than not. And that’s the importance of “People Engagement”. In our work to evaluate very good strategies that fail to meet expectations and or helping design the deployment of wonderful strategy plans to ensure execution success we have found the amount and level of People Engagement a key success element.  So what do we mean by people engagement? Every organization enjoying a level of consistent strategy performance success had a higher level and number of engaged employees’ understanding the company’s strategy and how they fit in to that strategy.  Well that’s not new News. Right?  However how it’s achieved; and can be accomplished for your organization maybe new News.

No matter how great the idea or you think you are – it can’t be without others telling your story – Bailey King

It starts with engaging the right people at the right time in the organization, along with those outside of the organization. Although many organizations think that they do; most don’t actually plan or practice active organizational engagement as a part of its strategy deployment design.

why engagement matters

Why Employee Engagement Matters

Many enterprises tend to think that people engagement is the ownership of HR and all that’s needed is a communication program when trying to implement and execute strategy. Communication programs are important. However they are just one element of what we like to refer to as enterprise people engagement practices (EPEP™) that go far beyond employees of the organization but also have an impact on the customer and competitors. At Kelvin Alexander and Hill Associates we developed a model that we use to evaluate strategy deployment relative to employee engagement, and also to aid in designing people engagement (EPEP™) as an element of our strategy deployment design planning process. Effective organizational (EPEP) must have these “It” elements for highly successful and consistent strategy execution where people “Believe It, Trust It, Feel It, and Live It”. Why is employee engagement important? Here are a few must haves for successful long term EPEP; you’ll find elements of each of them in high engagement organizations:   BELIEVE IT

  • EMPLOYEE-Have faith – the organization stands for something meaningful
  • GAME PLAN-Deliberate part of strategy deployment
  • LEADERSHIP -Value it


  • EMPLOYEE-High trust environment
  • LEAD (on new terms)- Leaders/managers committed to engagement practices
  • ACT (ions)-Aligned with publicized Core Values & Strategy


  • EMPLOYEE (transformation)-The work itself is intrinsically rewarding. They should feel like they’re working for a common cause. Pride in belonging
  • CUSTOMER /GUEST (experience)-Make it Deliberate, Plan it, and Act on it – consistently
  • CONNECTED – Get everyone engaged.  Practice lots of ways to get employees at all levels engaged in planning and decision making — that way, they own the things they do.


  • EMPLOYEE – Rewarding, Diverse, Caring, Valued, Proud
  • ROC = Return on Community, Internal and External score keeping
  • LEADERSHIP – EPEP ECO System. Requires nurturing to sustain a viable environment

Now before you get your organizations checklist out and start checking the boxes off of all the things you have already done, and the reasons they didn’t work; won’t work or why your company can’t justify the investment and time to focus on something that’s not as tangible as other budget items. You might want to rethink that position. You pay for lack of employee engagement in your organization each and every day. Here’s more food for thought on the effect on business outcomes.

Business Outcomes 2013_KAH

Employee Engagement Effects Key Business Outcomes – source Gallup

Median differences between top-quartile and bottom-quartile business units were 10% in customer ratings, 22% in profitability, 21% in productivity, 25% in turnover (high-turnover organizations), 65% in turnover (low-turnover organizations), 48% in safety incidents, 28% in shrinkage, 37% in absenteeism, 41% in patient safety incidents, and 41% in quality (defects). So if you haven’t built (EPEP) in to your strategy start. Now! It’s never; not a good time to improve business performance. It’s not the killer idea that wins, it’s the execution that does!

About C. Bailey King

Leadership consultant and speaker, Bailey, is the author of The Blueprint: Strategy Deployment and Execution –“Leadership and Enterprise Culture Effect”.  He consults regularly with Executives from a variety of fields to help create synergistic solutions to process performance and strategy execution challenges. And is President of Kelvin Alexander and Hill Associates an international management consulting group specializing in strategy deployment planning and process improvement for sustainable performance results. www.kahllc.com                                                                                                                  

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