Strategy implementation is the responsibility of top, middle and lower/line managers focused on building capacity through projects and programs to strengthen the organization, and enable it to better deliver value to customers while meeting stakeholders expectations. Strategy implementation is an action-oriented process for building a capable organization that can make the selected planned/formulated strategy work as intended.
A strategy is implemented if the corporation has the capabilities, enterprise advantage, and business portfolio it wants, its corporate strategy is implemented. If the business unit has the customers, value proposition, and skills it has chosen to have, its business strategy is also fully implemented. Technically, a strategy can never actually be fully implemented because everything that was necessarily assumed when formulating the strategy - about customers, technology, regulation, labor market, competitors, and so on - is in a constant state of flux. There will always be a gap between where the company is and what its (corporate and business) strategy calls for. Closing this gap is implementation.
Why Strategy Implementation Fails
Strategy implementation can fail - not accomplishing the desired outcomes - for myriad reasons including the inability of the organization to manage its strategy very well when faced with challenging situations such as:
These challenges are not the reasons at fault, since other businesses are able to survive, grow and thrive. The real (causal) reason can be attributed to mismanagement - inability of the business organization to manage its strategy very well.
Effective Strategy Management
Effective strategy implementation management involves closing the "execution" gap - the gap between actual/current strategy performance and intended desired performance.
Strategy implementation involves change in people that typically takes over a long period of time, this makes it more likely that the conditions under which the strategy formulation took place will change and unforeseen circumstances may arise to derail the execution.
Management needs to also understand the interactions among key execution decisions and actions, and contextual forces that create significant and persistent execution gap as measured by the Operating Model. An important task of managers is to design strategic control systems for successfully implementing and executing a strategy.
Managing organizational change requires a system of controls - a tool designed by managers to help them monitor and evaluate the progress of activities directed towards executing the organization's implemented strategy. Some of the factors that influence execution success/failure include:
All these factors are interdependent and their influences are non-deterministic; this typically, makes it very difficult for managers to comprehend the contribution of each of the factors to successful outcomes of strategy execution. Each of the factors influences execution success/failure in a different way; if an organization fails to pay proper attention to one of these factors, it can result in execution failure, therefore an organization needs a system and approach to support management of these factors and their influence on successful execution.
Strategy Implementation Management
Strategy execution management is a process of managing people, strategy and operations. Strategy execution management is a disciplined and systematic approach to managing - directing, controlling and facilitating - the day-to-day decisions and activities undertaken at all levels in the organization involving top management through middle management, and front-line managers and workers that carryout the ongoing pursuit of a strategy and complete it.
Strategic managers create control systems to monitor the quality of products. Strategic control systems provide managers with the tools to regulate and govern their activities. In strategic control, managers first select strategy and organization structure, and then create control systems to evaluate and monitor the progress of activities directed towards implementing and executing strategies. Finally, they adopt corrective actions through adjustments in the strategy if variations are detected.
Strategic control systems provide managers the tools to regulate and govern their activities through both proactive (feed forward) and reactive (feedback) mechanisms. Proactive control systems help in keeping an organization on track, anticipating future events and responding to opportunities and threats. Reactive control systems help detect deviations after events have occurred and then take corrective actions. Strategic control systems further help managers achieve superior efficiency, quality, innovation and responsiveness to customers. Strategic control systems can also help in encouraging employees to think about innovation. Strategic control systems make employees more responsive to customers through monitoring and evaluating employees' behavior and contact with customers.
I am a computer scientist by education and training. My interests are in modeling complex business and social systems to foster better strategic and operations management processes in delivering value to customers while meeting the expectations of stakeholders.