Monday, July 6, 2015

How to Map Strategy Execution Processes

It is important to clarify the strategic themes and building blocks for strategy execution.

Sound strategy and solid execution are both important. The strategy is more important because it helps the organization navigate through the thorny business journey ahead; but the execution is more difficult because it consumes resources, takes disciplines and practices to get it right. Strategy and execution need to go hand in hand. Knowing where you're heading is critical to supporting all the micro decisions along the way. However, the key objectives and opportunity to "pivot" can become lost in task planning and execution. So how to mind the gaps between strategy and execution, and how to manage the underlying business processes, build dynamic business capabilities in order to execute strategy more seamlessly?

Clarify the strategic themes and building blocks for strategy execution: It takes an integrated team to guide and monitor the execution with the individual representation of the ideas and knowledge of the mechanics collaborating to deliver a meaningful result. The strategic themes are essentially the pillars of the organization. They include business growth, operational excellence, customer service excellence, product development, innovation, and sustainability. Strategic perspectives are the financial aspect, customers and stakeholders, internal processes, organizational capability and engaged leadership. The four building blocks required for effective strategy execution are clarifying decisions right, designing information flow, aligning motivators and making changes to structures.

Mapping Vision - Strategy - Tactics: By mapping strategy to execution, you need to well define the business goals (both long term and short term). What you are going to achieve could be “LONG TERM” or “SHORT TERM” goals. ‎Usually ‎companies need to measure the goals using certain KPIs which are very much to do with ‎time and investment. After that, they need to have SHORT-TERM actions which are aligned with the ‎goals. The ‎managements need to make sure that STRATEGY is on the right track, otherwise, they ‎have to take ‎corrective ACTIONS. If strategy (the deliberate strategy) is planned or intended, usually it is LONG TERM. The ‎time factor is ‎needed because you want to measure your performance. If there is no time-frame ‎for the strategy, the actions are meaningless because you could keep executing forever. For ‎emergent strategy, you could ‎have short term or long term goals as well. There are three interrelated terms: vision, strategy, and tactics:
‎-Vision: What you want the organization to be (your dream). ‎
‎-Strategy: What you are going to do to achieve your vision (goals) ‎
‎-Tactics: How you will achieve your strategy and when (actions).‎

Manage Execution via Balanced Scorecard and beyond: In strategy based balanced scorecard, organizations try to align its strategies to corporate goals and objectives and cascade strategic intent to all departments of the organizations. The balanced scorecard approach helps organizations translate their strategy into key performance indicators that can be cascaded down to the department, teams, and even individuals. This is a great way to set objectives and monitor them. However, it is not easy to develop sound KPIs. To quote Drucker: What gets measured gets managed. Costs, profit are easy to measure, but, even more, important ones such as quality, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and environmental impact are much more difficult to measure. As a result, they are often left out of balanced scorecards, and therefore not managed. Furthermore, developing, monitoring and managing objectives is crucial for successful strategy execution. However, soft aspects such as developing leadership, conveying the strategy, cultivating high-performing culture, empowering and motivating employees, etc are as important, if not more important. Such key practices are not part of the balanced scorecard, but also need to be managed well.

Leveraging the latest digital analytics tools, collaboration technology, and processes., etc for strategy management. Digital technologies can change the way in which organizations execute their strategies. It’s important to translate the strategy into KPIs and monitor their performance. There is great value in collaborative technologies that allow for more democratic decision-making and increased collaboration and information sharing across functional departments. Digital technologies can also be very helpful in strategic analysis. Another interesting link to explore is the driver for identifying key strategic processes. It is usually the parameters that affect customer experience the most which are key. In essence - customer experience is fundamental to how processes should be managed. This is an important issue to understand that the processes in your business will deliver/create the result. Many times you don't consider the processes as the (main) driver to deliver the desired result, and then you will not get the result you hoped for. The processes are the tool to get the result you formulate in the strategy.

The success of strategy management undoubtedly lies in the ''timely execution,'' and this can be achieved only through continuous persistence and follow-up, the effective processes, efficient tools, and the high-performing culture to get it right with the sense of urgency.


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