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Strategy implementation involves decisions and activities undertaken at all levels in the organization in order to turn the formulated (corporate and competitive/business) strategy into reality. These strategic decisions are the main means through which management choices are actually realized, and they are long-term in their impact, and effect and change the direction of the whole business organization. Normally corporations change their strategies to re-position themselves and adapt or react to changes in market opportunities and threats. Strategy implementation provides the connecting loop between formulation and execution, and control. Strategy implementation consists of all the decisions and activities under taken at all levels in the organization required to produce outputs - such as strategic assets - that successfully turn the formulated corporate strategies and business strategies into reality.
Why Strategies Fail At Implementation?
The outcomes ofstrategic decisions are usually contingent on the behavior of other actors affected by the decisions and the decisions’ outcomes. These recursive relationships between decisions, decision outcomes and effects of other actors’ behavior make strategic decisions and decision-making messier and more complex than operational decisions, and highly prone to failure. In addition, they are difficult and expensive to reverse because they substantially alter (and irrevocably so in the short run) the relationships between the decision maker’s organization and environmental actors such customers, competitors, etc. Strategic decisions always represent risk because they deal with the future and changes in behavior of organizations and institutions which cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. Strategy implementation may fail for a myriad of reasons including the following factors:
All these factors are interdependent and influence each other as well as implementation success/failure to varying degrees. 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 implementation success or failure. If an organization fails to pay proper attention to one of them, it can result in implementation failure, therefore we need a systemic approach to understanding the influences of these factors.
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 of scale of negative consequences. Risk is a certain type of uncertainty that involves the real possibility of loss.
Managers usually know how much they have invested in strategic initiatives to enhance and strengthen the organization, but have little idea in the short-term how much value they have created in some desired but uncertain future situation. Typically, the value delivered by enhanced and/or strengthened assets and is causally and temporally separated from successful development of these assets through cause-effect relationships that may involve two (2) or more stages making it difficult for managers to fully comprehend the contribution of these assets to the strategy execution success or failure.
Organization structure provides a visual 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. The structure should also support executives and leadership positions (i.e., top management) efforts to influence successful execution through their actions such as:
Within the structure, rules, policies, and procedures are uniformly and impersonally applied to exert control over organizational members’ behaviors.
The lack of structure alignment with strategy (structure follows strategy) may result in:
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. 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), Participative 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 firm performance, particularly focusing on the alignment of human resources as a means of gaining competitive advantage. The literature indicates that firms with sustained superior performance have unique capabilities for managing human resources to gain competitive advantage.
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. Therefore, the key concerns in the technological environment involve building the organizational capability to:
These capabilities should result in the creation of a technological strategy which deals with choices in:
I am serial technology entrepreneur and computer scientist interested in model-driven strategy and strategic decision problem analysis and solutions development to support descriptive analytics and human decision-making processes.