A 5 minute read
Business Strategy Implementation – The ‘Holy Grail’
Developing a great strategy is a vital part of your business, but it certainly isn’t the only part of the process that determines your success. After all, you can make everything look great on paper but implementation is much more difficult!
This is the third article in a series (you can read the first on Business Plans, and the second on Business Culture if you haven’t already) which offers advice and practical tips for growing businesses. Decades of working with business owners across diverse industries has enabled me to gain knowledge and insight about what keeps them awake at night, and more importantly what to do about it. Recently, HM War Room sessions have also been invaluable in shaping my views about improving company success.
The guidance below will assist with strategy implementation. Depending upon the nature of your business, our experience suggests that this crucial step is made all the more achievable if your strategy is supported by a great managerial structure and employees that are engaged and care themselves about the success of the strategy.
Step1: Planning For Successful Strategy Implementation
One of the most difficult challenges to implementing a strategy is to prioritise effort. In prioritising you will need to determine the timing, sequence, and resources required to successfully accomplish each step in your plan. Failure to determine the proper sequence of your strategy can undermine your entire operation as can a failure to appropriately resource the key steps of the plan.
The plan needs to be coherent, easily understood and transferable. Thorough planning will ensure that you align short-term goals and tactics with long-term goals and objectives that will meet with team approval.
Buy-in is essential to make sure everyone is travelling with the same forward momentum. Ultimately there needs to be a decision-maker who can provide impetus as and when needed.
Step 2: Getting the Right Resources in Place
Whether your business is a start-up or a well established brand, chances are that you never seem to have enough resources to accomplish everything you’d like to achieve. While this is more commonly a problem for small companies that don’t have as many employees or are subject to budget restraints, every business seems to experience similar challenges to some degree. To minimise the effect of resource shortages, companies need to prioritise their resource allocation based on value contribution. First, determine which strategies are most critical. Once you have done this, you can ensure that resources are distributed appropriately to avoid wasting time and energy, so generating the most value for the money spent.
Step 3: Aligning Your Team
In just about any industry, teamwork is essential for accomplishing the overarching goals. Unfortunately, poor communication between departments or team members has proven to be the downfall of even the greatest strategies.
Once aligned the team needs to remain focused on the plan. Individuals and businesses generally have a variety of ways of managing projects. There are many software systems out there that will aide project management and these tools can be invaluable in delivering alignment across the delivery team. They can also be used to remind the team why! Understanding why a business is doing something helps to maintain engagement and focus.
During delivery it is not uncommon for new information to become a distraction. When this happens, revisiting the ‘why’ will realign activity with the agreed purpose. And while tools are the enablers, nothing is a substitute for the drive and determination of a well motivated team.
Step 4. Resistance to Change
Many people often view change as foe. Dealing with team members that are resistant to change can be tricky. Typically, the greater the required change, the greater the resistance may be. This is true especially if revised strategies require that you reorganise a department or adjust employee responsibilities or worse, come with negative consequences for some. The resistance can undermine the successful implementation of your strategy as employees contribute half-heartedly to your efforts. If however, you address steps 1 to 3 above, implementing a plan when combined with a transparent explanation of the rationale for the strategy should make addressing resistance to change a lot easier.
Individually, neither good strategy nor good execution will bring you the success you’re after. Your business will never achieve success without great execution. You will fail if you flawlessly execute a poorly-crafted strategy that fails to deliver on your most important goals. Luckily, flawless strategy and execution are by no means mutually exclusive. When you’re doing it right, you can have both!
The next article in this series covers another crucial step – getting the Board right.
Building Business Success: The Series
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