Thursday, September 3, 2020

Harness in-Depth Understanding of Strategy Management

Successful strategy execution is based on ‎information, innovation, intelligence, and improvement for delivering solid results continuously.

Complexity, uncertainty, high velocity, and interdependence are the new normal facing businesses today. Running a modern business is not just about crunching numbers, it’s important to harness an in-depth understanding of strategy management, clarify critical issues, and major concerns; the business leaders' commitment must be clearly and completely communicated for engagement of all stakeholders in order to improve the overall success rate of strategy management.

What things are in place that will enable the business strategy? Given the “VUCA” normality of the digital business and given the challenges of ever-evolving dynamic ecosystems, business strategies today are usually dynamic and have a lot of moving parts. Unclear strategy perhaps misleads the business in the wrong direction. Know what you are able to accomplish and what it will take to expand the differentiated capabilities for enabling the business strategy. The strategic capability mapping helps to visualize the “end to end” enterprise and bridge the “gap of opportunity” between where you are and want to become. 

Technically, the strategy should be decomposed into segments that can be accomplished by executing tactics that achieve tasks. To enable a good strategy, it’s important to align critical components such as people, processes, and technology across the business functions to create synergies in making strategy for everyone's everyday job. Individual contributors can for the first time see where they fit in the universe of work and it can bring a great sense of purpose to their work as well as their role in the strategy management for achieving tangible results. Here is a set of inquiries to harness an in-depth understanding of strategy management. 

What can be done to strengthen strategy enabler? The "right" strategy can't be completely defined by the planning space; it is clarified through initial actions, actually, digital strategy execution is an iterative continuum propelled by both visible and invisibe enablers such as process, resource, culture, etc. Strategies need to be first and foremost long-term, descriptive, but prescriptive as well. To strengthen the enablers of the strategy, enhance links to business strategy alignment, scenario planning, program and project life cycle management, requirements management, risk management, resource management, etc.

The missing but necessary capability must be created or purchased, or the strategy must be revised. It’s also important to strengthen the strategic alignment of projects and programs to prevent business initiatives being undertaken that do not support the enterprise strategy and prioritizing the top programs that can make a significant impact on strategy execution. By strengthening the business strength and improving business weakness, the capability-based strategy is not only leading to a well-set destination but also proactively cultivating and optimizing a unique set of enterprise capabilities dynamically.

What things are in place that will inhibit or endanger the business strategy? Sometimes strategy makers spend more time designing the content of strategies than thinking how to implement them successfully. Strategy execution unravels often because of poor leadership, lack of accountability, lack of decision maturity, inter and intra-divisional tensions, especially in companies that have become a bit too comfortable with their past success. People are always one of the weakest links in strategy execution. Personal and structural resistances are also expected and both need to be addressed effectively and efficiently.

In many cases, the failure of the strategy is in fact caused by management myopia, hubris, or organizational inertia. Top management fails to communicate the strategic planning to the other employees across the organization hierarchy, so they continue working in the dark. Or they fail to create a climate and a high-performance culture that is collaborative to enable smooth strategy execution. In specific, the business strategy execution gaps exist at the people’s mindsets - organizational culture. A great culture can support a weak strategy, but a weak culture cannot support a great strategy. Lack of risk tolerance culture could cause significant issues to smooth strategy management.

What can be done to minimize strategy inheritors?
It seems logical the more ambitious strategy the businesses undertake, they should expect higher levels of friction. Remove cultural, organizational, and systemic barriers, to minimize strategy inhibitors. The visible and active sponsorship is more important than the correct functional alignment; it is also important to focus on resource assignment, people adoption, besides communication and training. Sometimes, within resistance lies deep wisdom and great energy. The right level of sponsorship will help to get the resources needed for the execution, overcome organizational friction, and achieve the expected business performance.

In practice, most managers spend very little time addressing crumbling paradigms or basically would not know where to start for addressing crumbling paradigms. If the actual planning is spot on, listen to your employees or customers, listen to the market, listen to the competition, be realistic, believe in strategic planning, more to the point is to make sure everybody else believes on the plan too, and last but not least, be innovative, the strategy inhibitors can be minimized and strategy success rate is increased significatly. The super execution is the result of synchronization of all key business factors to create business synergy and build differentiated business competency seamlessly.

What can be done to measure the business strategy? The strategy provides the first steps but can be radically changed as demanded by the environment as well as experience and effectiveness of execution. The "right" strategy management can't be completely defined by the planning space; it is clarified through initial actions, and it should be measured via a set of well-defined KPIs. The ‎management needs to make sure that strategy management is on the right track, otherwise, they ‎have to take ‎corrective actions. On one side, when you start getting the business imperatives addressed starting with near terms then you know, the strategy is working. The velocity of the strategy execution is another parameter you can measure the execution success. Execution of a dynamic strategy is achieved through a series of interdependent actions and decisions run in the iteration. So measure should be done in short intervals but is clearly linked to the deliberate strategy which is planned or intended, and usually it has a long term perspective. The ‎time factor is ‎needed because you want to measure performance for continuous improvement.

Strategy management is a cross-functional effort and multidisciplinary and multidimensional planning. 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. At the operational level, metrics and KPIs will be different for each function/business unit depending upon what role they play in executing the overall strategy. And then, the dashboards of these metrics need to be regularly reviewed and discuss progress/whether resources could be reallocated to the most important initiatives if others are falling short.

Strategy exeuction has been and is still an ongoing educational journey. The success of strategy management undoubtedly lies in the ''timely execution.'' And a successful strategy execution is based on ‎information, innovation, intelligence, and improvement for delivering solid business results continuously.


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