CHALLENGES OF STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION
Potential Challenges of Strategy Implementation
Strategy implementation starts with a series of brainstorming sessions. According to a study by Michael Beer and Russell A. Eisenstat, published in the summer 2000 issue of "Sloan Management Review," the six silent killers of strategy implementation are top-down or complacent upper management, unclear strategy and conflicting priorities, ineffective senior management team, poor vertical communication, poor coordination across the enterprise and inadequate middle-manager and supervisor management skills. Training and communication are key to overcoming these challenges.
Engage all levels of your company in the strategy planning process. Information flow from the lowest levels of the company up to the decision makers, brings valuable enterprise information to the decision and planning process. Top management must be fully aware of how the company operates and how change will affect operation.
Communicate the need and how decisions were made to fill that need. Employees and all stakeholders must understand why the strategy is being put in place and its goals. Change often causes paranoia among employees. Making them feel they are an important part of the change process and educating them about the details will help to create enthusiasm and cooperation instead of paranoia.
Obtain buy-in by all key employees and stakeholders involved in implementing the strategy. No matter how brilliant top management thinks the new plan is, if the production department thinks it is unworkable, they will resist change and the plan will likely fail.
Conduct informational sessions or training to achieve a comfort level with new strategic processes and procedures. This is the time to make any necessary changes to the plans as gaps and mistakes appear. Informational sessions often elicit helpful suggestions from staff and line employees.
Implement the new strategy with fanfare. It is important that all levels of employees are enthusiastic about the change and feel as though they have been rewarded for their help in bringing it about. There must also be a broad understanding of when the change begins, so create a launch date or schedule that everyone knows and can easily follow. ISSUES IN STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION:
Strategy execution is like a multi-horse chariot - if all the horses do not pull in one direction, you are not going anywhere. Your job as an entrepreneur or a CEO is to ensure all stakeholders are pulling your organization in the same direction. Lawrence A. Bossidy former CEO Allied-Signal once said, “Strategies are intellectually simple; their execution is not.” I am quite sure any entrepreneur or CEO who has tried to implement strategy will agree. Strategy formulation requires managerial skills that are different from strategy execution. Successful strategy formulation requires business sense, shrewd industry and competitive analysis. On the other hand successful strategy implementation requires strong leadership, proper resource allocation, business processes and policies that support the strategy and a very high level of focus. It is an operations activity. Strategy execution really tests a CEO or entrepreneur’s skills. It tests their ability to direct organizational change, motivate people, develop capabilities and develop an organizational culture to support the strategy. What makes strategy execution tougher is this range of activities that needs to be performed and the varied skills need to perform them - people skills being the foremost. Just because the management has decided on strategy does not mean that subordinates will follow and cooperate in its implementation. There may be skeptics on the merits of the strategy. A number of issues are involved: vested interests, office politics, existing attitudes and ingrained practices all play a major role in strategy execution. There...
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