Integrated & targeted strategy execution interventions
Whereas many consultancies perform relatively short but intensive exercises for clients, Strategy Execution typically works with its clients over many months, using a less-intensive and often low-profile approach. Our experience in strategy implementation suggests that ‘big-bang’ change is often ineffective, and it is almost always possible and sensible to take the time to understand the unique subtleties of any business situation before instigating significant change. This often leads to a number of smaller, less costly and less risky changes – and a higher probability of desired objectives being achieved, with fewer unintended effects causing new problems. Given our expertise in strategy implementation, we also know that it is essential to maintain continuity between planning and execution. We can add enormous value by partnering with clients to tackle implementation and the practical challenges that arise during this phase.
Three broad phases
To support this approach, Strategy Execution usually adopts a three-stage exercise, whether working with a business or a function or department within a larger organisation: –
1. Diagnosis & Review
We draw upon significant academic research expertise to perform rigorous diagnosis of business situations. The exact methodology we adopt always demands upon the circumstances, but normally involves interviews with not only key senior managers but a sample of staff at various levels in the organisation. Document review is also a common method of gaining an insight into existing planning and processes. In some cases, surveys and participation in organisational activities are useful ways of generating an understanding of a client’s business so that strategy implementation plans are grounded in reality.
2. Facilitation of strategy development
We do not develop strategies for our clients. Rather, we provide rigorous, tested frameworks for this purpose, and facilitate clients’ thinking as they apply these to analyse their business and its environment, before generating strategic options and making choices. We always seek to challenge the thinking of our clients, helping to begin the change which is required at the personal level as well as for the wider organisation. This approach not only ensures better and more realistic planning, but generates the ownership of the change agenda which is so essential for successful strategy execution. The processes we use to facilitate planning are based on extensive research and have been widely tested in practice. They are highly effective at developing executable strategy and translating strategy into activities. However, a word of warning is worthwhile. This process can – and perhaps should – be quite difficult for clients to work through. Done well, however, the output is a strategy which can form the capstone of all future work – and can be built upon with great confidence.
3. Assistance with strategy implementation
It is impossible to predict what things must be changed to implement strategy before undertaking planning. Sometimes successful strategy implementation requires business process redesign, a new organisation design or a new approach to performance measurement. More often, however, smaller changes will deliver the desired effect: altering commitment and reward or developing a strategic HR capability, for instance. Whilst Strategy Execution does not provide expertise covering all the possible areas requiring attention, our expertise is in ensuring alignment between strategy and the various routes through which implementation is intended to occur. Strategy Execution often works very closely with internal and external experts in specific areas to ensure that this fit is maintained. Our involvement in implementation can take many forms, ranging from providing one-to-one coaching for senior managers and executives to facilitating post-implementation reviews. We are often asked to sit on project control groups or provide inputs to induction training, to ensure that long-term strategic success is ensured through embedding implementation in the day-to-day operations of the organisation. Strategy Execution also delivers a great deal of training and development, always within the context of a wider piece of work to properly identify capability development needs. Therefore, all our programmes are customised for clients’ particular circumstances and objectives. For an overview of the areas of expertise in which we deliver training and development, please see the capability development section.
Are we right for one another?
Our approach, and the focus of our expertise, is not designed to meet the desires of all executives and senior managers. It is important that before working together, we and our clients understand one another’s philosophies and objectives. We take a thoughtful, rigorous and practical approach to our work, which above all else is oriented to add value for our client organisations. We only undertake work in areas where our expertise is second to none, and we seek assignments with objectives consistent with helping organisations better achieve their objectives. We know from our research that strategy implementation often fails, and design our approach to improve the chances of success and avoid the enormous costs of failure. Adopting a disciplined approach means that some individuals and teams are better-suited to working with us than others. To help your decision-making, the following observations may be helpful.You’ll really value working with us if…
- you are committed to helping your organisation achieve its objectives
- you are aiming to create sustainable, long-term success
- you observe that developing and executing strategy is usually complex and difficult
- you recognise that all organisations are unique, and management ideas need evaluated and implemented with this in mind
- you see value in investing time up-front, diagnosing situations and planning how best to tackle implementation
- you see organisational change as affecting and being affected by numerous interrelated organisational designs, systems and processes
- you recognise that change creates numerous risks which need carefully managed
- you are tenacious about working towards your goals you believe in tracking and reviewing initiatives carefully to measure their true levels of success
If these ideas generally reflect your beliefs, it is likely that you would find our approach refreshing, reassuring and rewarding.