Stage 4: Execute other strategic work

along with projects


Organisational Strategic Planning & Execution


By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia



This is the fourth of a series of five articles on organisational strategic planning and execution. I am using the following basic strategic management framework as a common reference base for this series (with some small amendments from the first two articles in the series).


Figure 1: An organisational strategic management framework, with project contribution

The first article in this series (Stretton 2018d) addressed Stage 1: Establish strategic objectives, and discussed the extensive preliminary work needed before strategic objectives can be reasonably established, the importance of “emergent” strategies, and the need to re-establish strategic objectives as the latter come into play.

The second article (Stretton 2018e) addressed Stage 2: Develop options, evaluate and choose the best. It focused on the importance of developing alternative strategic initiatives, and of achieving reliable conceptual level estimates, to facilitate valid evaluation of the alternative ‘outline’ business cases, and choice of the best.

The third article (Stretton 2018f) addressed Stage 3: Augment and consolidate strategic initiatives, which included augmenting and elaborating the business cases for the chosen initiatives, confirming feasibilities, and prioritising, balancing and consolidating the strategic initiatives into a strategic portfolio, or portfolios.

This article on Stage 4 will look at strategy execution, but particularly at some aspects of what I have described as the other strategic work which is normally needed, over and above programs and/or projects, to help achieve organisational strategic objectives.

We start with discussing some broad attributes of strategy execution.


Many large organisations struggle to implement their strategies effectively

Butler 2008 points out that many organisations pay more attention to strategy formulation than strategy execution, and goes on to make the point that

….. the vast majority of organisations simply do not execute their strategies effectively. Some of the statistics are illuminating:

  • Fortune Magazine – less than 10% of business strategies are effectively delivered.
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors – 70% CEOs who fail, do so not because of wrong strategy, but because of poor execution.
  • Ernst & Young – 70% of capital expenditure spent on initiatives not aligned with organisational strategy.
  • McKinsey – 28% of CEOs say that their company produces a strategic plan that reflects the company’s goals and challenges, but is not effective.
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers – Only 2.5% of companies have 100% of strategic projects on time, within budget, to scope and delivering the right benefits

In a recent article in this journal, Dalcher 2018c reported that Sull et al 2015

….refer to a survey of more than 400 global CEOs that found that executional excellence is the leading challenge facing corporate leaders in Asia, Europe and the United States, topping a list of over 80 issues, including geopolitical instability, top-line growth and innovation. The authors further concede that multiple studies indicate that between two-thirds and three-quarters of large organisations struggle to implement their strategies. Similar figures are regularly quoted in most strategy textbooks.

In discussing problems associated with strategy execution, Dalcher also pointed to another situation which is related to poor performance in strategy execution, namely poor coverage in the literature, to which we now turn.


To read entire article, click here


Editor’s note: This is article four in a five-part series on strategic planning by Alan Stretton, one of the world’s leading experts in program and project management.  This series is based on Alan’s research and writing on this topic over the last several years, much of which has been published in previous editions of the PM World Journal.

How to cite this paper: Stretton, A. (2018). Stage 4: Execute other strategic work, along with projects, Series on Organizational Strategic Planning and Execution, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VII – July. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pmwj72-Jul2018-Stretton-strategic-planning-series-article-4-other-strategic-work.pdf

About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)



Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 190 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.