co-workersThere is a great study that has been published by the Harvard Business Review that attempts to look at what is going wrong with strategy execution. Some of the results are surprising but given what we have all experienced, they shouldn’t be. One of the things that the study is saying is that a large part of your ability to get your job done, of getting strategy implemented hinges on your co-workers, those people in other departments who you rely on to get things done for you.

The study asked whether people can rely on others around them to meet their promises, to get things done that they committed to. Fully 84% of respondents indicated that they could rely on their boss and direct reports all or most of the time.

But when it comes to relying on other people in the company to meet their promises, shockingly only 9% of managers can rely on co-workers in other departments. Their commitments are only just as good as those given by external parties.

And when they can’t rely it results in duplicated effort, letting promises to customers slip, delaying deliverables, or passing up attractive opportunities. This inevitably leads to conflict that is badly handled.

There is no easy fix to this problem as it appears to result from companies trying to do a good job executing strategy by aligning departments to specific tasks. When peel are hyper-aligned to their own set of tasks, and helping others out doesn’t contribute to getting your own done, then co-workers are left sucking air.

Now I know that none of you reading this blog would be guilty of letting co-workers down but all those other people out there better get their sh*t together right?