Over and over we hear the importance of strategy implementation. You can have a great strategy, but if you are unable to put it into practice, it is worthless. So if it is already old news that implementation is the key to success, why do we still see many companies failing at this stage? Well, simply because the complexity of implementation is underestimated.
Though many rely on external support to develop a new strategy, people consider implementation more of an internal activity or separate task. I met a client who told me “Strategy is developed in the ivory tower, and then it’s up to us to figure out how to make it work”. That got me thinking what had gone wrong in that particular case. In my experience, development and implementation go hand-in-hand. So how can we help to build a bridge between strategy development and implementation?
Here are three key points:
Involve key stakeholders from different organizational levels
If you involve different organizational levels at the development stage, not only will you develop a strategy that addresses the points that are important to your team and has a practical approach, but you will also get easier buy-in to the strategy. Selecting the right people to involve will also take you one step further when it’s time to execute the strategy. In this respect, it’s not only expertise that is important, but leadership skills and the ability to influence others will also be key to ensuring successful implementation.
Make your strategy implementable
Make a robust plan that considers funding, phases, tasks, timetabling, resources, and well-defined roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, be realistic about the resources you need to implement the strategy and how daily work will be affected by the additional tasks. Getting an extra pair of hands and expert advice at this stage can pay off, if it paves the way to a smoother transition.
Communicate and manage change
Unfortunately, this is many times overlooked. Clear, timely communication doesn’t just happen. Spend time thinking exactly what needs to be communicated, when it should happen, and who will do it. This will benefit by getting your organization onboard faster and avoiding negative feelings due to people not knowing what’s going on. Remember, the larger the scale of change, the more effort you need to exert in order to make it happen. A proper change management plan will make your life easier by accelerating the pace at which changes are adopted in the organization.
What’s your view? Can you think of any other points to add to the list?