Attaining Sustainable Organizational Growth and Profitability
Strategy implementation is the process of making the chosen strategy operational by translating it into action plans so it can be executed successfully. Implementation provides the connecting loop between the strategic choice - selected strategic option from formulation - and execution and control. A strategy has to be successfully implemented and effectively executed to be of any use to an organization.
Types of Plans
There are three (3) types of plans generated during the implementation phase;
The planning aspects of implementation revolve around decisions about managing people and processes, taking into consideration management issues central to strategy implementation. These issues may include:
During implementation stage, organizations may also find that they have to perform further planning, especially in the discovery of issues that must be addressed.
Key Success Factors
The primary concerns of strategy implementation is making the selected strategy operational throughout the entire organization so it can be successfully executed. Implementation requires the collaboration of everyone inside the organization, and on many occasions parties outside the organization. The key factors to take into consideration to ensure the implementation plans are feasible include the following:
These factors are generally in agreement with the key success factors or prerequisites for effective strategy implementation as identified by McKinsey.
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 strategy call for. Closing this gap is implementation.
Factors Influencing Successful Strategy Implementation
Strategy Implementation is fraught with challenges as evidenced by the low percentage of strategies that are effectively implemented. Strategy implementation require a number of key components to be successful, including:
All these factors that influence the successful implementation of a strategy 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 making strategy implementation very hard.
Each of the factors influences implementation outcomes (closing the gap) in a different way; if an organization fails to pay proper attention to one of these factors, it can result in implementation failure, therefore an organization needs a system and approach to support management in successful execution.
Effective Strategy Management
Successful strategy implementation provides the context for successful execution, and involves managing change in the organization's internal environment which then allows the organization to successfully adapt to the changing external environment in which it operates but cannot control.
In a rapidly changing world any competitive advantage a firm creates is temporary and not sustainable; without systematic changes to the firm's strategy and plans so it can respond and take advantage of opportunities that emerge as a result of changes in the environment while managing emerging threats that successful execution.
Strategy execution 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.
Typically, the implementation gap - the gap between the strategic plan and its implementation - is caused by missing integrative links such as:
Typically, the value delivered by enhanced and strengthened existing assets or new assets is causally and temporally separated from the successful completion of the strategic initiatives that produced those assets. Any cause-effect relationships may involve two (2) or more stages; making it difficult for managers to fully comprehend the contribution of these assets to the success/failure of the implementation and execution of the strategy.
In the absence of certain cause-effect relationships or experience in how these dialectical (verbal) processes between organizations will unfold, the firm can only hypothesize about the effects of different possible initiatives, and learn more about them through interaction with other actors such as competitors, regulators, customers, suppliers, and partners in its competitive landscape.
Implementation Gap and Gap Analysis
Strategic gap analysis attempts to determine what a company should do differently to achieve a particular goal by looking at the time frame, management, budget and other factors to determine where shortcomings lies.
Strategy implementation involves change - closing the gap between organization's current capacity and the capacity the strategy calls for. The implementation gap can be manifested as:
Strategy implementation decisions and actions are the means through which management intentions and choices are actually realized.
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.