Is the C-Suite an echo chamber for strategy?

New survey of executives reveals disconnect between what really goes on at big companies and the strategies leaders set; the upshot – company performance isn’t what it could be, according to Strategy& research

Shanghai, July 18, 2014 – Record-setting stock market performance could be masking a significant problem: Companies are actually strategically and financially out of shape, rendering many unfit for steeper competition and leaner market conditions.

Strategy&, a member of the PwC network of firms, surveyed more than 500 executives from around the world. The findings illuminate a gulf between corporate leadership’s carefully laid strategies for growth and how their companies actually operate.

“There is too much happenstance and not enough well-planned execution happening at companies today. And this disconnect between strategy and execution doesn’t bode well for the inevitable turn when the market will get tougher,” said Vinay Couto, Senior Partner at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) and coauthor of the Fit for Growth* profiler and study.

Among the Fit for Growth survey findings ...

Leaders don’t communicate strategy effectively, and strategy doesn’t drive decision-making:

  • Fully 83% of executives said their company’s overall business strategy isn’t well understood across the company, and 70% admitted that the strategy only minimally or moderately guides decision-making across the company.
  • Only about a quarter (26%) of executives said their company’s strategy translates to specific operational objectives, initiatives and measures.

The disconnect means missed opportunities ...

  • The vast majority – 87% – of executives said there are major unexploited opportunities that could make the company a market leader but that are overlooked.

... and misallocated resources:

  • Most executives – 66% – said there are significant businesses, products and/or services in their companies’ portfolios that do NOT align with the company’s strategy.
  • Only 25% of executives said there are clear and formal mechanisms at the company for channeling funding to critical strategic initiatives.

Company culture and strategy clash:

  • A significant number of executives said their organization’s culture is at odds with what’s demanded by its strategy (26%) and that the organization’s structure does not at all support their strategy (22%).

“When a company pursues growth, it must develop a clear sense of what really sets it apart from its competitors and the strategic opportunities that it is uniquely well-positioned to pursue. It must then invest with laser-focus in the capabilities that drive that differentiation – and be very lean elsewhere. Success does not come from a one-time great product, but from what everyone in the organization does day-in and day-out to further the company’s key strengths. Developing a clear strategy, communicating it throughout the organization, and aligning financial resources and the organization with this strategy are key for positioning a company for sustained growth,” said John Jullens, a Strategy& Partner.

For more information, please visit

Strategy& conducted a survey of 511 executives from companies of various sizes and from around the globe and from a full range of industries. The online survey asked 25 questions on the topics of business strategy and priorities, alignment of resources with strategy and critical capabilities, and alignment and focus of the organization. The profiler can be found at

* Fit for Growth is a registered service mark of PwC Strategy& LLC in the United States.

About Strategy&

Strategy& is a global team of practical strategists committed to helping you seize essential advantage. We do that by working alongside you to solve your toughest problems and helping you capture your greatest opportunities. We bring 100 years of strategy consulting experience and the unrivaled industry and functional capabilities of the PwC network to the task. We are part of the PwC network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax, and advisory services.


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