Strategic Management Overview
Before attempting to understand Strategy Execution, you must have an understanding of Strategic Management and its purpose in your organization.
What is Strategic Management
Strategic management is the process of establishing goals, processes, and objectives to improve the competitiveness of a firm or organization. Typically, strategic management focuses on efficiently allocating personnel and resources to meet these objectives. Strategic management frequently includes strategy appraisal, internal organization analysis, and strategy implementation.
Why is Strategic Management Important?
Strategic management is critical in business since it helps a corporation identify operational improvement opportunities. They can either follow an analytical approach that identifies possible hazards and possibilities, or they can simply follow broad rules in many circumstances.
Depending on the nature of the business, a company's strategic management plan might be prescriptive or descriptive. A prescriptive model specifies development and execution strategies. On the other hand, a descriptive technique describes how a company may put these plans into action.
The Strategic Management framework can be illustrated as seen below; (take note of where Strategy Execution lies in this process)
- Strategy setting: this stage involves determining the business's vision, mission, and objectives.
- Situational analysis: in this stage, a detailed analysis of internal business processes and the external operating environment is performed.
- Strategic planning: accounting for information gathered at previously stated stages, a strategic and operational plan is developed to execute the business aspirations.
- Strategy execution: Strategy Execution is the process of putting strategic plans into action to achieve the desired business aspirations. This process will be explored in detail in this article.
- Strategy evaluation and control: this process involves assessing performance levels realized and developing interventions to direct future performance.
Strategy Execution is putting strategic plans into action to achieve the desired business aspirations.
It can also be defined as how a company should establish, employ, and integrate organizational structure, control systems, and culture to follow strategies that lead to competitive advantage and improved performance. Strategic implementation addresses the "who," "where," "when," and "how" of achieving desired goals and objectives, and as such, it is crucial to a company's success. It concentrates on the entire company.
Implementation begins after environmental scans, SWOT analysis, and establishing strategic concerns and goals. Employees are assigned particular value in developing activities and duties. Organizational structure specifies how these tasks and roles might be associated with optimizing efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction—the pillars of competitive advantage. However, organizational structure alone is insufficient to encourage employees.
A system of administrative control is also necessary. This management tool provides managers with staff motivating incentives and feedback structures on employee and organizational performance.
It is essential at this stage to consider the culture of your organization. Organizational culture is the specific collection of values, attitudes, conventions, and beliefs held by organizational people and groups. This will affect how individual and team-level objectives will be handled and what implementation success will be realized as a result.
The primary phases in putting a strategy into action can be summarized as follows:
- Creating a company capable of carrying out a strategy: Consider culture, skills, brand awareness, and resources as a whole.
- Invest a large amount of money in activities critical to the strategy's success.
- Developing policies that encourage strategic thinking.
- Using the most effective policies and procedures to achieve continuous improvement.
- Creating a link between the incentive system and the achievement of goals.
Avoiding Implementation failure
If well-crafted strategies are not adequately implemented, they fail. If a company's strategies consistently fail, a large threat exists to its sustainability. It is also important to remember that strategy execution is vital for each organizational dimension, such as organizational structure, reward system, resource allocation procedure, and so on, to be optimized.
To avoid failure in executing the strategy execution process is rightfully viewed as an iterative process as expressed below:
The company's vision represents the "winning aspirations" of the business. This is the answer to the question, "What is success for your organization?" This, as such, remains consistent in the short term and specifies the direction in which the organization as a whole is set to move.
The strategy speaks to the organizational mission and values. This is how the vision is translated into the organization's structure and the prevailing culture of the business. It is determined by using estimations and expectations of how stakeholders contribute and respond to business activities. As such, the strategy should be viewed as dynamic. While the experiences inform the expectations that feed into strategy inform the expectations that feed into the strategy of top leadership and analysis of the business environment, there is no guarantee that they will be what comes to pass. Adjustments should be made to the strategy from time to time in line with changes in both the internal and external operating environment.
The implementation plan is the step-by-step process of translating the strategy and organizational vision into day-to-day activities to maintain desired results. The plan involves determining projects of focus and desired performance levels at each level. Beyond determining these, deadlines, accountabilities, and ownership are assigned to specific teams and individuals concerning the projects of choice. The assignment is essential as this clarifies performance expectations for each team and individual, thus creating an ideal situation for the appropriate efforts to be put into achieving the goals set.
The final step involves monitoring the performance of individuals and teams who have been assigned responsibility, noting areas where adjustments need to be made to the strategy, rewarding high performers, and creating performance improvement plans for low performers.
How to Succeed in Strategy Execution?
To execute defined plans, a company must first establish yearly targets, create policies, inspire personnel, and allocate resources. Creating a successful organizational structure, redirecting marketing efforts, setting budgets, building and leveraging information systems, and tying employee remuneration to organizational performance are all part of strategy execution.
The strategy implementation stage of strategic management is mobilizing people and managers to put stated plans into action. Strategy execution, which is often seen as the most challenging stage in strategic management, necessitates personal discipline, dedication, and sacrifice. Managers' ability to inspire staff, which is more of an art than a science, is critical to strategy implementation success. Strategies that are developed but not implemented are useless.
For a successful strategy execution, interpersonal skills are very important.
All employees and management in an organization are affected by strategy implementation efforts.
Answers to queries like "What must we do to implement our share of the organization's strategy?" must be decided by each division and department. "How can we get the task done most efficiently?" and "How can we get the job done most efficiently?" The difficulty of implementation is to motivate managers and people across a company to work with pride and passion toward achieving specified goals.
The design of an effective plan does not ensure its implementation. Doing something (strategy implementation) is usually more difficult than saying you'll do it (strategy formulation)!
Even the most technically flawless strategy plan will be useless if it is not put into action. Many businesses devote an excessive amount of time, money, and effort to establishing the strategic plan while neglecting to consider the means and conditions by which it will be implemented! Change occurs due to execution and assessment, not as a result of the plan. A technically flawed plan that is skilfully implemented will achieve more than a great plan that never leaves the computer screen.
Yolanda Chimonyo is a Strategy and Performance Management Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.
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