The environments in which today’s organizations operate in have become more dynamic than ever. The pace of change is requiring organizations to react quicker than ever. Strategy today requires more focus, and organizations need to be more agile in adapting to this change. In fact, 74% of organizations claim to spend more time in developing strategy than years past. Although planning and design are key, the real obstacle organizations continue to face remains in execution. It is no secret that the majority of strategies still fail, not due to flaws in design but failures in implementation. From unclear visions, to lack of business alignment to an impeding culture, there are many reasons for failure. The organizations that get execution right, view strategy as more than just a plan, but a framework of moving parts which propel organization to new frontiers.
In principle, executing strategies effectively involves three integral parts.
If we cut through the complexity, strategy is about the few critical decisions an organization makes. These decisions should address both internal and external elements. Clearly articulating these decisions and transforming them into actions which get done, is what strategy execution is all about.
Winning strategies are based on rigorous analysis of the internal and external environments in which organizations operate in. In addition, strategies cannot be ambiguous and need to be based on very clear visions, objectives, targets, business models, etc.
Defining and developing these fundamental elements of a strategy constitutes the design phase in strategy execution.
Once a strategy is designed the leadership team needs to be aligned and synchronized on its direction. Moreover, the implementation begins first through a strategic alignment of both core and support business units ensuring that goals, objectives, targets, etc. are aligned both vertically and horizontally in the organization.
What is also crucial, and which sometimes does not get the focus it deserves, is the organizational alignment to the strategy. Meaning, organizational elements such as structure, rewards, processes, performance management etc. need to be synchronized and be completely in tune with the strategy.
Enabling the strategy mostly involves the softer side of execution. This often times is the most critical element and the biggest obstacle to execution. Enablement involves communicating the strategy so that all front line employees understand it, and behave in a way to support its execution.
In addition, it also involves ensuring that leadership and management are monitoring and adapting it on a periodic basis. Finally, the culture of the organization, which is probably the most critical driver to execution needs to be enabling the strategy and its execution.
Strategy Case Studies
Industrial manufacturer in KSA pursues diversification strategy
After years of manufacturing products in the metal product segment, a leading manufacturer charted a bold new direction which saw it diversify its product line and venture into new material segments. A foreseeable and eventual decline in the demand of the metal segment, along with exploitable synergies with customers, were the two key drivers for this decision, which resulted in increased profits and a more sustainable business.
Moreover, the new strategy emphasized on product innovation while also eliminating inefficiencies and wastes on the production floor.
Public Sector Agency bolsters its execution capabilities
Many organizations suffer from unclear strategies in place, which in turn severely impact execution. At a regional Public Sector Agency, leadership was determined to ensure that strategy was ingrained in the organization and completely clarified. This involved an articulation exercise where the organizational vision was specified and elements of vagueness removed.
Moreover, key strategic goals, objectives, KPIs, targets, and initiatives and detailed to guide the organization better in its execution journey. Most importantly, the strategy was synchronized to the performance management system so that both elements were finally talking to each other. With performance aligned to strategy, execution was enhanced through better monitoring of the strategy.
GCC Family Business Rationalizes Portfolio
Family businesses in the GCC remain the key drivers of employment and of the non-oil economy. A leading family business needed support in aligning the family and the business with a new direction and vision for the holding group. As part of defining the overall strategic direction, the portfolio of companies and subsidiaries was also analyzed holistically and objectively taking into consideration financial performance, industry trends and other criteria.
There were several underperforming companies kept as emotional attachments within the business that were eventually dissolved; leading to substantial increases in the return on capital for the group.