It is said that the “devil is in the details.” It can also be said that implementing a successful strategy requires an understanding of the “big picture,” including the interaction and integration of the key decisions makers. For the purpose of my blog post I am discussing the interaction between the ‘architect’, the visionary detailing the company’s global strategy and the ‘General Contractor’, a technical expert who executes what’s been designed. The key for a successful organization is to have both a strong architect and an effective general contractor.
‘Making strategy work and leading effective execution requires a deep understanding of each step in the design- implementation process so execution can be successful’
Managing strategy differs from managing operations. Implementing the correct strategy and executing operations effectively are both essential for superior performance. A visionary strategy that is not linked to an accountability process and thus coupled with excellent operational execution most likely cannot be implemented successfully for sustainable success. Conversely a company that has operational excellence but does not have a solid strategic vision and guidance is not likely to enjoy sustainable success.
Many companies struggle at implementing a strategy or managing operations because they lack the management expertise of the architect and the operational finesse of the general contractor to align these two processes.
While many companies have a large number of strategic and operational tools to choose from, they often do not have a framework to guide the successful integration of their initiatives. Many companies implement strategy on an ad hoc basis, with little planning, benchmarks or metrics to measure success and often without coordinating internal and external resources. More than often, the only common feature in most company’s management systems is the financial budget or profit and loss statement which is being used as the primary tool for coordination, forecasting and performance evaluation. In today’s competitive environment this is no longer sufficient.
So what is the answer?
Companies must have a formal process for developing strategic objectives to set priorities for where operational improvements can have the largest impact on strategy execution.
The company architect must link vision, strategy formulation and planning with operational execution, in setting the general contractor up for success. The architect must provide leaders with a comprehensive, proven system for managing the implementation, review, and adaptation of their strategies. This type of management system provides a framework that will help develop strategic maps and measuring targets on the implementation initiatives and it would specify the accountability for performance. It would provide guidance for identifying operational problems, barriers and challenges facing the execution of the strategy.
Conclusion; Align your strategy with the demands and realities of the market and the customers your company serves. Have a clear focus on the customer. Irrespective of the number of strategies a company is executing, being an innovative industry leader, a quality leader, and being customer focused all comes down to successful execution of your business model and the services you deliver. Be fair warned, this process take time to develop and roll out. Patience is critical, reasonable organizational balance is necessary.
Looking for a good book on the subject? Our suggested read is
Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change
By; Lawrence G. Hrebiniak
Thoughts and comments?
Steven Cohen, Principal of GreenMark Consulting Group is a business management and operations consultant, mentor and coach with more than twenty-five years of landscape/snow industry experience. Steven has an extensive background in managing cross-functional business operations, business strategy and market growth projects. He prides himself as being both an analytical and a conceptual thinker who effectively partners with business owners to assess opportunities, facilitate strategic decisions, and drive successful implementations. GreenMark Consulting Group specializes in helping growth-oriented companies see through challenges and map out operational and growth strategies.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org