So what makes a strategy execution management (SEM) system different from a performance management system? Well, performance management systems are really performance appraisal systems. They’re owned and driven by human resources. Their goal is to make the performance appraisal process easier. They focus on automating the process by providing pre-written appraisal language to be cut and pasted into an employee’s record according to how positive or negative the judgment should sound. They usually contain competencies, and they may provide an area for goal entry. They may also provide a way to indicate whether a goal links to an initiative. What they don’t do is drive regular communication throughout the organization, and above all, what they don’t do is focus on the execution of organizational strategy.
Therefore, a SEM system is owned and driven by senior executives. An execution management system’s outputs may serve as inputs to human resources, but the system is never owned by human resources because the responsibility of ensuring the execution of the organizational strategic plan doesn’t reside with human resources. It resides with the senior executive team.
If you come across a system that claims to be a strategy execution management system, look closely at it. Does it have all of the qualities of a good execution management system? Does it promote clarity, alignment and engagement, or does it just pay lip-service to these things? Is it really a strategy execution management system, or is it an automated performance appraisal masquerading as one?
There are very few true strategy execution management systems in existence. But they do exist and they can make a huge impact on your bottom line by helping you successfully implement your strategic plan year-after-year.