Too many organizations struggle to implement strategy. Why is this so? Let me provide you with 3 Tips On How To Implement Strategy…and more!
Raise your hand if you recognize this approach in any organization you have worked with…the executive for your team convenes a “strategic retreat” to develop strategic priorities. This retreat often takes place in the last quarter. The executive reflects on recent performance, some forward-looking data is discussed, brainstorming takes place on what the future could/should look like and the retreat ends with, you guessed it, a strategy for the upcoming year.
We are all excited about a new strategy and looking forward to transforming the way we do business. What happens next? The executive and senior leaders slip back into day to day operational challenges and responsibilities as the months go by and the focus on the strategy decreases due to some of the following:
- A significant event derails the organization’s strategic focus
- Accountability for execution of the strategy was not considered…who is delegated leadership of the strategy
- Resources were not committed to execution of the strategy…no money…people doing this “off the side of their desk”
- Executive sponsorship for the execution of the strategy is not active or visible
Are these reasons or excuses for failing to execute on strategy? Other than the first bullet, the other three sound more like excuses. How can organizations improve at executing something as foundational to success as the strategy?
1. People, Process, and Technology Impact Execution of Strategy
Recognition that the engagement of people at all levels the organization will highlight the process and technology required to execute the strategy.
2. Action the Strategy by Creating an Implementation Plan and a Calendar
This is where action takes place. An implementation team can identify the steps required to action the strategy. The implementation plan will set out what needs to be done, who will be responsible for completing the action and the target date for each activity.
3. Implement Plan and Review Progress
The leader of the implementation plan must have a direct reporting relationship to the executive to enable regular performance reviews and to propose actions to mitigate risks. It’s not enough to identify risks to the implementation plan…there must be a plan to mitigate the risks.
What’s In It For Organizations?
- Executives and employees enjoy a boost of morale and pride when focused on reaching new and important goals
- Employees feel empowered
- Discipline and passion throughout the organization
- Excitement and confidence that the strategic goals will be achieved
The ability to execute a strategy with an engaged and passionate workforce!
Why Does an Implementation Team Make Sense and How?
I would like to suggest a project management approach to implement your strategy. Why project management? It’s all about a structured and thoughtful approach that can achieve the expected outcomes…and isn’t that what we are looking for?
In a recent article, Kareem Shaker sets out five practices to build this implementation or project team:
The foundation of a project team’s personality is a positive mental attitude. Positivity drives productivity and creates an environment for a team to go the extra mile.
“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.” – Winston Churchill
Go All In
Team members are so much more determined to solve a problem when they are passionate about solving it. Project buy-in and project achievement are ensured when the personal aspiration of team members are matched to organizational objectives.
What can you say…perseverance is everything! We’ve all heard that Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he invented the light bulb.
Discussions that help achieve the outcomes can be triggered by dissent among the team members. Having diverse opinions and personalities can mitigate the risk of group-think and enable the achievement of awesome outcomes.
Implementation/Project teams should approach achievement of their outcomes from a “why not” perspective. We tend to limit our own ideas to the box we live in. Some suggest that we should think outside of the box. Let me suggest this bold idea…approach solutions and outcomes from the perspective that there is not box! Discover new solutions by turning the standard ways of doing things upside down. Fill your team with critical thinkers and get out of their way…remember there is no box!
“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?'” – George Bernard Shaw
Please share and let me know if you have any questions or would like to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you think.