Attaining Sustainable Organizational Growth and Profitability
Copyright Enterprise Design Labs 2005 - 2018
A strategy has to be successfully implemented and effectively executed to be of any use to an organization. Strategy implementation is key to any organization's survival and growth.
Strategy implementation is one of three co-incident stages - formulation, implementation and execution - of the strategic management process. Implementation provides the connecting loop between formulation, execution and control. The primary concerns of Strategy implementation is making the selected strategy operational throughout the entire organization. It requires the collaboration of everyone inside the organization, and on many occasions parties outside the organization. Making the selected strategy operational involves several actions and activities that must take place, including:
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.
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.
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:
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 decisions and actions are the means through which management intentions and choices are actually realized.
Factors Influencing Strategy Implementation Success/Failure
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.
Uncertainty - Effects of Uncertainty
Uncertainty creates obstacles and challenges to decision-making due to limited knowledge of current conditions and gaps in our understanding of future outcomes and affects management behavior in performing their duties such as:
Uncertainty deals with possible outcomes that are unknown; and is a major component of risk (the likelihood or scale of negative consequences).
Structure Alignment problems - the overall strategy not properly aligned (i.e., working) with the current structure; the way people and tasks/work are organized, and roles and responsibilities are assigned to people not aligned with strategy would lead to implementation gap. Structure not driven by the strategy can create obstacles to successful implementation manifested in the following ways::
The organization structure design and the degree to which it effectively enables managing complexity, coordination and control of organizational behavior is critical to effective decision-making as the decision rights cascade during strategy implementation and execution grows. Within the structure, rules, policies, and procedures are uniformly and impersonally applied to exert control over organizational members’ behaviors. .
Weak culture is by definition not supportive of the new strategy and leads to organizational behavior and performance problems that present obstacles and challenges to successful implementation. un-supportive culture is reflected in organizational behavior such as::
Execution requires supportive culture and demands ownership at all levels in the organization including management and workforce. People must commit to and own the processes and actions central to effective execution.
Strategic Human Resource Management is particularly focused on the alignment of human resources as a means of gaining competitive advantage. in terms of the adequacy of their knowledge competencies, and skills. Poor Human Resource Management is manifested in the following ways:
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:
Changing technology can offer major opportunities for improving goal achievement, or threaten the existence of the firm due to unpredictable problems
Effective Strategy Implementation
Effective strategy implementation and execution 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.
The key factors that support successful implementation and execution are the following internal environment elements:
These factors are generally in agreement with the key success factors or prerequisites for effective strategy implementation as identified by the McKinsey.
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.
Typically, the implementation gap - the gap between the strategic plan and its implementation - is caused by missing integrative links such as:
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.