Copyright Interactive Design Labs 2005 - 2018
Strategy implementation is the translation of chosen strategy (resulting from strategy formulation) into organizational actions so as to achieve strategic goals and objectives. Strategy implementation is the responsibility of middle and lower level managers, however the role of top management is vital in preparing a workable strategy and communicating it clearly so that middle and lower level managers can easily implement it.
Strategies are never fully implemented because the assumptions underlying the formulated strategy and the strategic initiatives are in constant flux, and keep changing requiring that strategic decisions and choices be evolved in order to stay relevant and competitive. Implementation provides the connecting loop between formulation and execution and control. Strategy implementation is key to any organization's survival. Strategy implementation requires the collaboration of everyone inside the organization, and on many occasions parties outside the organization. It consists of all the decisions and activities/actions required to turn strategic choices into reality, and requires competencies such as leadership skills, precision planning, organizing of resources and activities, as well as motivation to ensure people's commitment to the new strategy.
Strategies may fail at implementation for a myriad of reasons due to the influences of factors such as:
All these factors are interdependent and influence each other and, to varying degrees, the success/failure of strategy implementation; therefore we need a systemic approach to understanding the influences of these factors on implementation success. Because these factors are interdependent and their influences are non-deterministic it is typically very difficult for managers to comprehend the contribution of these factors to the successful outcomes of strategy implementation or organizational change.
Examining Factors Affecting Successful Strategy Implementation
These factors can create gaps that if left unattended too long can lead to failure. A good understanding of these factors and appropriate approaches to guide managers' decisions in responding to them can result in successful implementation.
Leadership is a role of top management and comprises managing strategic processes, managing relationships within the organization, managing managers' training. This role has the following responsibilities: coordinating activities, streamlining of processes, aligning organizational structure with strategy, keeping employees motivated and committed to strategy implementation, and enhancing communication within the organization.
Poor leadership results in obstacles and challenges to successful implementation because certain required leadership functions are nor performanced; these may include:
Information Availability and Accuracy
Information systems support the decision-making process through the quality and quantity of information available for executives and management to use in decision-making. Availability of information systems to support fast and accurate progress tracking, timely intervention, and corrective action at the right time and place.
Poor Information Flows and Availability may result in obstacles and challenges to successful implementation because degradation in certain management functions such as:
Uncertainty - Effects of Uncertainty
Uncertainty is a state of having limited knowledge of current conditions or future outcomes. Uncertainty deals with possible outcomes that are unknown; and is a major component of risk, which involves the likelihood or scale of negative consequences. Risk is a certain type of uncertainty that involves the real possibility of loss.
Uncertainty is reflected in the following conditions and gaps:
Organization structure provides an explanation of the decision-making process, clarifies roles and responsibilities, allocates human resources, and ensures a level of flexibility to respond to unexpected circumstances. The organization structure design with focus on effectively managing complexity and coordination and control of organizational behavior is critical as the decision rights cascade grows because the structure and operating principles as well as governance of the organization becomes more complex and critical to manage. Within the structure, rules, policies, and procedures are uniformly and impersonally applied to exert control over organizational members’ behaviors.
Structure Alignment problems - the overall strategy not properly aligned (working) with the current structure would lead to implementation failure resulting from these obstacles and challenges:
Organizational culture is the collective behavior of humans who are part of an organization, and the meanings they attach to their actions. Culture includes the organizational values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits. Culture manifests itself in the particular way things are done in an organization including how decisions are made. It affects who gets hired, how they get trained (formally or informally), what behaviors get rewarded, who gets promoted, and virtually all organizational procedures and administrative protocols. Organizational culture can be supportive of the following: Learning and Development (Growth), Participatory Decision-Making, Power Sharing, Support and Collaboration, Tolerance for risk and conflicts.
Culture not supportive of the new strategy leads to organizational behavior and performance problems that present obstacles and challenges leading to implementation failure. These obstacles and challenges may include:
Human resources are the people that comprise the workforce including managers of an organization. Human resources represent one the category of assets employed by an organization to create and deliver products and services to customers. Human resource management is a function in an organization that is concerned with ensuring that the organization obtains and retains the skilled, committed and well-motivated workforce it needs. Strategic human resource management is concerned with the role of Human Resource Management Systems in organization performance, particularly focusing on the alignment of human resources as a means of gaining competitive advantage.
Poor Human Resource Management is reflected in the following conditions and gaps:
Technological trends include not only the glamorous invention that revolutionizes the lives of the actors in the organization and its environments, but also the gradual painstaking improvements in methods, in materials, in design, in application, unemployment, and the transportation and commercial base nd their diffusion into new industries and efficiency. The rate of technological change varies considerably from one industry to another. Changing technology can offer major opportunities for improving goal achievement, or threaten the existence of the firm.
Lack of organizational capability to adapt to technology changes is reflected in the conditions and gaps:
I am a serial technology entrepreneur and computer scientist interested in model-driven analysis and evaluation of strategy, its formulation, implementation and execution, to better inform strategic decision-making, and improve organization performance and ensure sustainable growth.