Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three Aspects to Manage an Emergent Strategy

Strategy Management is about putting a good team together to give you a multifaceted picture. It is for evaluating the long-term, not just the immediate, and building about agility and flexibility.

In today's digital dynamic and unstable business circumstances, the evidence points to strategy emerging rather than being prescribed. The strategy should be formed on the basis of some logical intent - after all, if you have no plan, and success happens, it was an accident! With the increasing speed of changes, you need to be in tune with customer value, and particularly how that value changes or migrates over time, and you need to manage the emergent strategy with agility and flexibility.

The strategy cannot be something that the CXO thinks and develops in isolation. It has to be thought through, shared, and designed by the management team. And then, the strategy needs to be made tangible by defining strategic objectives, which in turn need to be translated into concrete targets. Finally, and this is the hardest but the most important part, you need to have the plan to implement it. You need to come up with concrete actions and initiatives through which the targets will be achieved. Discipline and determination make the rest. Successful strategy implementation requires management support and commitment of every staff member. It must be simply drafted and understood by all. If your front line workers cannot explain your strategy, then there is a problem. Senior leadership must be intimately involved or associated with strategy development and execution. Communication is key.

Successful strategy management is a function of effective and efficient "Strategy Champions" and a "Strong and Reliable Strategy Sponsor."If you are a strategy manager or officer, you are a strategy champion, seek the support of senior executives - Strategy Sponsors to make the impact. The best-laid plans often fall short for one reason or another. Falling short is clearly not an indication of failure nor is it an outright failure. Given that so many factors may appear to throw a plan off track, having the smarts to acknowledge these factors, and then to respond in a decisive manner that still leads to the achievement of the stated objectives or plan is what being flexible is all about. For well-established companies, the specific function is responsible not only for coordination and monitoring but also for designing the strategy and keeping an eye on market dynamics. It definitely has to be a senior leader with authority and influence in the organization. However, most managements/leaders have a definite mindset that blinds their minds from strategies, thus, irrespective of the quality of the strategy, they intend to ignore it and carry out their personal thoughts.

Another major issue with strategy formulation and implementation is the availability of information. The strategy is not created in isolation, valuable and reliable information about the organization must be available for the design of effective strategy. Unfortunately, such valuable information is hidden away from strategy departments which eventually make strategy formulation ineffective. Business leaders today must leverage information in decision making and strategy crafting. It is also crucial to make a risk assessment and constant evaluation of the business environment, otherwise, you may end up having a strategic plan which is oceans apart from reality. The strategy isn't just about making decisions. It is about getting the best information you can, continuously update. It is about uncovering all the options, even the unpalatable ones.

The strategy has to suit your organization, if it is too rigid or prescriptive, it becomes a waste of time. The strategy is also about analyzing the customer's needs from the customer's viewpoint and then creating a deliverable plan to meet and exceed the customer's expectations based on the customer's viewpoint. It is about putting a good team together to give you a multifaceted picture. It is for evaluating the long-term, not just the immediate, and building about agility and flexibility.


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