Copyright Interactive Design Labs 2005 - 2017
Why Strategies Fail at Implementation
Strategy implementation consists of all the decisions and activities/actions required to turn strategic choices, resulting from the corporate and business/competitive strategy formulation processes, into reality. It involves analysis to determine and close any gaps between where the organization is now (current state of Operating Model) and where it needs to be in the future (future state of Operating Model) as the strategies call for. if the there are no gaps, the strategy is implemented; otherwise there are invest decisions in initiatives and projects to formulate, establish and implement appropriate responses to close the gaps. Strategies are never fully implemented because the assumptions underlying the formulated strategy are constant flux, and keep changing requiring the strategic choices to be evolved in order to stay relevant and competitive.
Strategies fail at implementation for a myriad of reasons including the following factors that empirical evidence show have the most critical impact:
All these factors are interdependent and influence each other and, to varying degrees, the success/failure of strategy implementation (or organizational change). Because they 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 success or failure. If an organization fails to pay proper attention to one of them, it can result in organizational change failure, therefore we need a systemic approach to understanding the influences of these factors.
Detailed Discussion of Impact of Contributing Factors
The factors that contribute to the success/failure of organizational change are:
The leadership style affects implementation by driving the strategy, maintaining focus, being visionary, and acting as a driver for change management necessitated by the new strategy. 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 is reflected in the following ways:
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.
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 ways:
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 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.
Poor Structure - the lack of structure alignment with strategy (structure follows strategy) - is reflected in the following ways:
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. The implementation of the strategy can fail due to cultural misalignment such as:
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 ways:
Successful implementation requires that people change in a number of ways including, e.g.,
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 following ways:
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