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Monday, 01 September 2014 09:57

Making Strategy Work: What Directors Need To Do To Lead Effective Execution

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Making Strategy Work: What Directors Need To Do To Lead Effective Execution

It has become fashionable in the corporate world to have some form of strategy for the organization. We often find organizations going to resorts, far away from the office to craft the destiny of the company. They come back from the resort with a document they call a strategy. What is interesting about the strategies that are being formulated is that they often fail to get the buy in from staff to enable effective implementation. Strategic planning sessions in some organisations have lost credibility with staff and have now been labelled “executive corporate annual holidays”.

Management on the other hand is doing very little to ensure buy-in to the strategy. The Board of Directors should take a keen interest in the formulation and implementation of the company’s strategy. You might find in some instances that the Board has no clue as to where the organisation is going, hence the failure to monitor the implementation of the strategy. For the latter, there is need for the involvement of all the stakeholders in the formulation stages. It is important for management to solicit the views of employees, customers and shareholders on the destiny they desire for the organisation. Formulating the strategy in a strategy session is just putting together in a logical way what the stakeholders have contributed.

In reality some organisations formulate strategies for political reasons. Executive management may come up with a strategy ”just to keep out of trouble from the board”. A situation like this presents a big challenge for those interested in implementing such a strategy. In such a situation you will find that management has not put in place a monitoring mechanism to check on the implementation of the company’s strategy.

In order to ensure effective implementation the board and management must be able to foresee a benefit from this. Strategies can only be implemented effectively where there is a direct consequence of implementation and non-implementation. If shareholders were taking action on those failing to implement company strategies, then there was going to be marked improvement in strategy implementation.

Hopefully, your employees have not switched to the “wait and see” mode on all the initiatives management is trying to take. If they do, you will find yourself in a situation where you face a big challenge ahead in trying to convince them that it is worth the while to implement the company strategy. The other reason why some organisations are not committed to the strategy is that the employees have never lost their jobs as a result of non-performance. Those who have fallen victim to the management for poor performance will definitely tell you that it is not a pleasant experience. Employees should take an interest in how the performance of the organisation is being managed as it is the only sure way to guarantee that they will have a job tomorrow.

Some of the challenges related to strategy implementation include; a weak executive management team, organisational politics and incapable management team. Some executives do not know that they can only get results by ensuring that there is an effective performance measurement system that is tied to the company strategy. Executives do not implement strategy, but employees do. With an executive team that is committed to the strategy, that can demonstrate to employees the need for successful implementation of the strategy, it is possible to realize strategic success.

In some cases executives are diverted from focusing on strategic issues because they have become so accustomed to fire fighting to the extent that they want to be involved in every decision that is taken in the organisation. Minor and unimportant tasks that should be handled at a lower level sometimes find themselves in higher offices simply because the executives do not want to empower their managers to take decisions.

To effectively build the necessary commitment to strategy, there is need to show employees the direction in which the company is going by making sure their activities are linked to the company strategy. After showing them the direction, give the employees the necessary decision making powers and provide the necessary tools to enable them to do their job to the best of their abilities. Executives need to understand that performance miracles will not happen until and unless they take deliberate steps to connect with their employees both emotionally and strategically.

Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number 077 2356 361 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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