Strategy execution: the hottest topic among business strategists, and the c-level strategy leaders. As per the Conference Board’s survey conducted recently, CEOs ranked strategy execution as both, their number one and number two challenges. It’s a fact that more than 60% of the well-thought-out and ideal business strategies eventually fail due to a lack of execution capabilities among C-level strategy leaders.
When asked questions on strategy implementation, a majority of the managers stated it as “the act of executing a strategic plan” or “getting the strategy done”. However, they are not wrong, the definitions do not help much in terms of understanding what exactly needs to be done to execute the strategy blueprint to perfection.
Popular Approaches to Strategy Implementation
Strategy Implementation as a Process
According to a globally-recognized and noted book on business strategy execution, strategy implementation constitutes three vital elements:
Strategy Enforcement as a Step-by-Step Exercise
The book on strategy-building talked about above is helpful up to some extent, but the writers don’t tell you about the practicality of applying the three core processes. The said book as published in 2002, and by 2008, a new publication on strategy-execution dropped in. This was an even detailed book penned by Harvard Professors Robert Kaplan and David Norton.
It described strategy-implementation as a six-step theory:
1. Design the strategy
2. Plan the strategic framework
3. Make the organization align to the strategic blueprint
4. Design operations in line with the strategy guidelines
5. Gauge and learn
6. Execute and adapt
The 10-Step Strategy- Application Plan Every Business Strategist Must Undertake
Step 1: Identify the crux of the strategic outline: Having an overall idea of what needs to be done during different stages of the strategy-implementation program comes quite handy. The relationship among the varied elements of the strategic blueprint must be clear while applying it in the real-life scenario.
Step 2: Gauging the Business Strategy at Every Stage of its Implementation: Vital elements constituting the strategic framework must be assigned a performance measure. A comprehensive dashboard based on the gauging structure does help in keeping a track of the standing during different stages of strategy execution.
Step 3: Strategy reviews at stipulated timelines: Similar to how a budget is scrutinized each month to ensure financial upkeep, the strategy must also be reviewed from time to time. This way, you get to measure the effectiveness of the plan in real-time. You keep in control of the plan at all times.
Step 4: Decision-Making: Strategy implementation is similar to rowing a boat onto a predetermined path. As when the strategy leaders receive real-time data, they must check whether the ongoing proceedings are abiding by the predetermined plan, or do we need to tweak the plan as we move ahead in the process of actualizing the business goals.
Step 5: Organizing and segregating varied kinds of ongoing projects: Register and organize all the ongoing projects within an organization based on the project type and range.
Step 6: Project alignment with the business goals: Once the different projects within an organization are segregated, it’s time to test their alignment with the end goal. Only the projects that serve the ultimate goals of the business should be carried forward, and continued.
Step 7: Project Management: Businesses must be capable enough to execute projects keeping in line with the strategic blueprint. Many times, projects receive limited guidance. A central project office must exist in every business undertaking that runs and monitors projects in real-time.
Step 8: Strategy Communication Down the Line: Every business strategy leader must ensure making the strategy crystal-clear in the minds of the workforce, as they are the ones that help execute on the same. If there remains any confusion regarding its significance and relevance among the workers, you will eventually fail. Communication remains the key.
Step 9: Define Roles of Each Individual Involved: One of the key aspects that define the fate of a business strategy is how well each employee knows his role in the larger scheme of things. It is the responsibility of the senior leadership to make every worker aware of how they are contributing to the project, and in what capacity.
Step 10: Recognize and reward the performers: In making strategy work, the management’s role is not just limited to distributing responsibilities and recording the performance of each individual in the form of reports. When you do have the performance data of each employee with you on each day of the ongoing project, then it becomes your responsibility to reward and encourage the top performers. It keeps the morale of the workforce high and creates a positive work environment that eventually betters productivity and efficiency.