Strategy Execution



You finally agreed on your carefully developed strategy, but strategy execution now is an even bigger challenge? Many companies are good at strategizing but lose time and strategic advantage, trying to realize their plans. 

Organizations often fail to translate their strategy into operational consequences and create the processes and structures to reach strategic goals. Companies who are operationally efficient and proud of their optimized routines frequently struggle to change their best-practices and approach strategy execution in new and other ways. New goals and strategies, however, oftentimes require that things are done differently. If not, the results are little progress and projects that never realize. Strategy execution is neither a science nor an art. It is simply good practice and leadership. Follow a different approach to make sure you make the progress you desire, save time, and increase competitive advantage.

The 5 breaks of successful strategy execution to avoid are:

1) The prison of experience

Managers who successfully find solutions and reach results with a certain strategy or process in the past will always fall back to applying these same solutions and strategies for similar problems in the future. If it worked once, it would work again, right? No, not necessarily. In today’s dynamic environment, things change too quickly to hold on to old recipes for long. We need to resist the urge to apply historical solutions, preventing us from thinking outside the box, bringing in new and fresh ideas. Our experiences seduce us to be lazy and react. But that is not what we need. We need to anticipate and act to gain headway in the competition. We need to break out of our prisons of experience to open up for better, smarter solutions.

2) Thinking in activities instead of results

Planing prevents progress because organizations usually plan in activities. The issue with activity planning is that the focus concentrates on actions and immediate steps. While this may lead to initial progress, soon, people solely focus on doing the next task and reaching the next milestone. The thinking stops, executing the plan becomes the sole priority. Results take the back seat, and progress is achieved less frequently and slower each week. The answer to this issue is a new modern way of project management. Results-oriented progress management based on agreed and emotional target states will speed up progress and lead to quicker successes.

3) Missing empathy and poor leadership

Leading can mean many things. In strategy execution, it is essential to motivate people with vivid and attractive visions. Only when participants can see the picture of the future states in their own mind, and only when this picture is compelling, will they desire to participate in making this vision reality. Managers who focus solely on analytical reasoning will leave a large number of their staff behind. However, good leadership in this situation requires that as many people as possible are taken along on a journey that is demanding, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar on the one hand and fascinating, rewarding, and full of personal growth opportunities on the other.

4) Fear to take the wrong decision

Strategic decisions are bets on uncertain futures. If managers fear making mistakes, continue to do what they did before, they will most likely not address their new challenges. Fear becomes the enemy of progress, change, and success. Managers who are not ready to take informed risks don’t have what it takes to lead a corporation. Entrepreneurial activities are risky. While risks can be identified, analyzed, and mitigated, they can never be eliminated. Strategy execution and its development require courage.

While when we decide on a strategy, we also decide on one or a set of specific directions to take into the future, this does not mean we can’t change the course over time. Decide and implement like hell is what we advise and if it does not work, quickly adjust. This is what good strategy execution is about.

5) Lacking commitment and discipline

Lacking commitment can be a tough nut to crack. In general, people want to work, make progress, and get results. If they do not, it is the company culture and leadership that has frustrated them, killing initiative and drive. Read here how to create commitment in times of change. Strategy execution programs can be used to fire up commitment again or strengthen it. It is the perfect occasion to put empowerment to practice. Implementation successes will form engaged and strong teams that can do anything and are ready to show it anytime.

Therefore, if you are interested in speedy strategy execution, quick results, and progress, consider changing the way you are doing strategy execution.

Implementation of strategy done differently

Instead of “more revenues,” express concrete and clear goals like, e.g., we want to grow in “Diagnostics,” increase revenues overall by 15% and our core market share by 20%.

Use clear and precise language. Instead of “we have strengthened our pipeline and raised shareholder value,” express a strategy that is meaningful to all employees like, e.g., “the three acquisitions in early-stage mRNA technology fills our pipeline gap and the creation of shared service centers has brought down our COGS level by 10%.”.

Plan for success, not for the plan. Instead of using a detailed project plan for the next 2 years and monthly status meetings, plan for the next six months, with three performance indicators that measure and show everyone the fantastic progress the team made!

Stop bureaucracy and overlarge meetings, focus on transformation speed in which content counts, not polished power-point slides.

Start by implementing these few changes correctly, and your strategy will become emotional and accessible. Your team will understand what to do and why it makes sense to go there. They will accept the challenge, make fast progress, and achieve quick victories. They will feel proud after jointly overcoming the challenges every implementation holds. The team will focus on results and proudly measure them as they advance their planning to reach objectives. The strategy execution will be characterized by speed, progress, and focus on facts and actions.