The value of a good strategy is only known when strategy implementation is completed effectively.
For many companies, the issue of implementation is a re-occurring decay on the business’s growth as it continues to fail to reach its deliverables. Understanding what role strategy plays in an organisation can assist you in learning why implementation can fail and the effect it has on the business.
What is Strategy?
The strategy is the vision of what you want to achieve and where your business is heading, setting out the focus and priorities to everyone within the company. If used correctly, it can be instrumental in the making of decisions regarding actions or purchases such as software, product innovation, marketing strategies, sales strategies.
Often strategy is reviewed from time to time, as the company believes everyone is working toward the same goals. The strategy becomes diluted to become something of intent more than the primary focus of the management team.
What are Strategic Goals?
The strategic goals are a subset of the strategy. They are how the company will achieve the strategy and the actions they need to take to bring it into effect. They are the items that strategic leadership teams are required to deliver.
To assist in the implementation, companies often turn to a balanced scorecard as a strategic planning and management system. Organisations use the scorecard to communicate what they are trying to accomplish. The scorecard aligns the day-to-day work that everyone is doing with strategy. The scorecard assists strategic management to prioritise projects, products, and services.
About Strategy Implementation
Implementation is the process that turns your strategies and plans into actions so you can accomplish strategic objectives and goals. Implementing your strategic plan is as important, or even more important, than your strategy.
Strategy implementation can fail for a number of reasons, including:
- Failing to determine how much the business will have to change in order to implement the strategy;
- Failing to analyse the formal and informal structures and processes of the business to identify all aspects of the change required and establishing the right organizational structure;
- Failing to understand the “culture” of the business and their resistance to change;
- Selecting an inappropriate approach to strategy implementation;
- Failing to identify resource allocation requirements creating unnecessary barriers;
- Selecting an inappropriate leader for implementing the strategy and evaluating the results;
- Failure to predict the time and challenges implementation will encompass;
- Allowing other projects to distract attention and priority, possibly causing lead resources to be diverted;
- The basis upon which the strategies were developed or were poorly forecasted.
Each of the points is not mutually exclusive and must be considered simultaneously for strategy implementation to succeed.
Effective implementation requires a well-disciplined management process for it to succeed.
How does implementation affect marketing and sales?
For many companies, the strategy encompasses the activities of sales and marketing. These two areas often have the highest transparency of success or failure, as they can be seen from the outside and internally. The implementation of the strategy involving these two contributing areas requires careful management and leadership.
Problems of successful implementation centre around how well or badly the existing business responds to change and how adequate their reporting proves to be. Any strategy requires change.
To counter these problems, Sales Focus Advisory suggests the following:
- Allocate clear responsibility and accountability for the success of the overall strategy implementation project to a single person and provide them with the necessary resources;
- Keep the project a priority to the business by limiting the number of strategies pursued at any one time that affects marketing and sales;
- Have a well-documented clear plan identifying actions to be taken to achieve the strategic objectives;
- Determine the milestones or significant intermediate progress points before commencement and put some timelines around them;
- Install the right key performance measures to be monitored throughout the life of the strategy project, and create an information system to record progress;
- Adopt a performance management culture where measurement and outcomes are accepted and where possible, install a reward structure acknowledging the achievement of milestones;
- Ensure the implementation is sustainable in the culture of the company.
Developing a great strategy does not guarantee your successful strategy implementation. The one pivotal point defining success and failure will be the selection of the leader of your implementation.
A good leader delivers, and an average leader gets lost on the path and fails to complete what is required. An average leader can derail many other parts of the business as the way forward corrupts other initiatives undertaken by the company that relies on marketing and sales success.
The selection of the leader can be bound in emotive interests, loyalty in a desire to have the least disruption during the implementation. Those points alone are red flags of potentially poor decision making that will affect the outcomes.
In this eBook, we outline how to select the right person for strategy implementation when the change is a disruptive element that needs to be managed correctly.
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