There is very little point to creating a compelling strategy that never leaves the ground (other than keeping consultants in work). Executing a strategy and bringing employees on the journey can often be the most difficult step in the process. We firmly believe that close collaboration between functions and layers of an organisation can drive massive benefits beyond senior decision making.
Below are some ways we can help you execute your strategies effectively:
People, capabilities, and culture can vary greatly between organisations, or even business units within an organisation. However the principles of how to sell in and execute a strategy can be developed into a framework to ensure the effective rollout across the organisation, across multiple strategy setting cycles. The benefits of doing so include:
- Ensure no one is left behind. Everyone understands the strategy and knows their role in delivering it
- A deeper understanding of "why"
- Ensure homogeneous delivery of the message, ensuring cross-functional alignment
- Identify capabilities or resource gaps. Even if this is done at a high level during the strategy setting process, hearing these challenges directly from your employees will likely deepen your understanding of the issues you may face in implementation
Resistance to change is a common issue when implementing a new strategy. An effective execution framework will help address some of the common pitfalls when facing into resistance.
Multi-market execution frameworks
Many multi-national organisations choose to pilot an approach in one country before rolling it out to others. However the leap from executing a strategy in one country to retro-fitting it to others can be more difficult than the theory suggests. For example, how do you take into account varying needs and resources across markets? How do you overcome the "we're different" resistance?
Multi-market execution frameworks keep the core principles of what the strategy is trying to achieve as well as the learnings from the pilot, and applies guardrails for in country resource to work with multi-national resource to execute a strategy that works for them both.
Clear target setting as part of the strategy setting process should always be done at the level that accountability can be driven at. For example, a National retailer might set profit and customer targets at a regional and category level to enable regional managers to clearly communicate and motivate their store managers. Targets need to be challenging but achievable, relevant, and easily linked to the wider strategy. Target setting should also come with an established means of how and when performance against targets will be assessed.
Tracking and reporting
After targets have been set, tracking and reporting need to be established so all relevant parties know how their performance will be reported on. Not only does this rhythm need to be established, but senior stakeholders need to buy into the methodology so they can hold their teams to account.
Tracking and reporting should not only explain "what" the results are, but also "why". This vital step in the management process will not only help managers make tactical decisions, but also aid in future strategy setting processes.
It is also vital not to bog your Analysts down in "analysis paralysis". Tracking and reporting should be as standardised and as automated as possible. A great deal of this can be performed using the standard Microsoft Office suite, but is often under-utilised by organisations stuck using manual spreadsheet intervention. See Process improvement and automation section for further information.
Market conditions, customer demands, and competitor reactions change all the time. Part of executing a strategy involves understanding when to deviate from it, or make modifications. What happens if the competition launch a disruptive product? Or margins start to decline? Identifying and communicating clear course correction paths not only help avoid tactical "knee jerk" reactions to changes, they also provide guidance to the organisation on what to look out for when assessing ongoing performance.