Strategy is simply about working out which jobs need to be done by whom, and in what order, then getting on and doing them. So why do so many management teams find the whole process so difficult?
Lots of organisations work hard to develop the strategies required for success and they invest serious amounts of top management time in doing so. However research consistently suggests that companies often aren’t fully aligned behind the strategy and that some parts of the business don’t understand or actually resist it. They’re therefore failing to achieve their full potential because of their inability to turn great strategy into great delivery.
There’s a whole stack of reasons why strategy can go wrong, including lack of senior management attention to implementation, focus on the wrong areas, not doing the most important things first, not allocating resources to the important things, failure to integrate implementation with strategy formulation, and a lack of necessary resource within the business. The most common reason is that top managers see strategy as something different to doing their day job, and when a conflict arises between the two it’s the day job that wins. But that’s missing the point, and simply creating problems down the line.
If companies are to get the best out of the investment they make in strategy development they have to be committed to seeing the process through. Strategy implementation is a change process that has to be managed – the business needs to understand the implications of any change of direction and embrace it. Management teams need to understand the emotional and intellectual aspects of strategy implementation because not everyone will buy into the vision from the start. The strategy needs to be measured to make sure it’s working, and if not then it needs to be re-visited and re-calibrated. Finally managers need to maintain momentum by constantly focusing on achieving the agreed strategic goals, because implementing a great strategy helps the business secure its future.
A well implemented strategy can re-vitalise a business, give it a refreshed sense of purpose and lead to exceptional growth in profits. It’s worth making the effort to see the process through.