Saturday, October 23, 2021


The enterprises today need to become more open and responsive for adapting to changes, overcome challenges, keep the management processes and practices on track and achieve the desired outcome.

Many companies spend a significant portion of time formulating rock solid strategies, but execution does not go smoothly for achieving the expected results. There are varying reasons why strategy management fails, and there isn’t always a right or wrong choice in any situation, there are a lot of gray areas, varying blind spots, capability gaps in strategy management. 

As a matter of fact, execution is often more difficult due to its complexity and the culture resistance. The senior manager should set policies, adopt the posture of "we are in this together," to manage the collective insight and clear up the blind spot, bridge capability gaps and handle gray areas thoughtfully to ensure the pieces of the puzzle can be integrated into a clear business picture, and the organization can reach the clearly defined destination step-wisely.

Variety of blind-spots cause decision ineffectiveness and mislead strategy implementation: With overly restrictive hierarchy, most teams across functional boundaries operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the world, and take linear management discipline. Blind spots are inevitable, and usually caused by silo-thinking and homogeneous team-setting. Too often in an effort to keep moving forward, the management makes poor judgment, and jumps to the wrong conclusions. The business management, especially senior leaders have to be humble to realize there are many things you know you don’t know and perhaps even more which you don't know what you don't know. Otherwise, the arrogant attitude with a silo mentality will create numerous blind spots in strategic making, change, talent/performance management, resource, capability management, and further cause failures in strategy execution.

It’s important to challenge, debate, and initiate dynamic and respectful dialogue to broaden perspectives and close blindspots; listen, accept, and act on the blind spot, and always be ready to deal with another blind spot opportunity. High mature business leaders need to ask themselves: Did I overlook anything? What's my unconscious bias and how can I overcome it? Did I always listen to the two sides of stories? What perspective am I taking that might blind me to other things I could have distinguished otherwise. Continue to see the importance of dealing with blind spots by enhancing a healthy feedback-feedforward cycle. The invaluable feedback on business action/impacts/outcomes, portfolio realization/implementation, organizational performance/potential can significantly improve the overall business agility and maturity.

To survive and thrive amid constant changes and disruptions, companies must learn how to manage the “shade of gray”: The emergence of potential opportunities for exploring business transformation is likely to follow the nonlinear patterns with exponential speed. There is a mixed reality of fresh knowledge and outdated information; order and chaos, truth and false, right or wrong, etc. To clarify clouded vision, accelerate business speed and catalyze innovation, the organizational management needs to make a smooth shift from “command & control” to people-centric self-management, establish strong principles, learn how to manage the shade of gray, reclaim the right balance of process and creativity, standardization and flexibility, and build strategic and operational agility into their business foundations.

To handle grey areas effectively, it’s important to build common-accepted standards or compatible rules, bridge the variety of differences, improve the holistic understanding of things and relationships, the psychology and motivation behind the scenes, etc. The goal of grey area management is to optimize the processes and develop the next practices that enable effective problem-solving, rather than generate more issues strategically, culturally or globally. The gray areas perhaps imply hidden risks or uncovered pitfalls, that could also mean growth opportunities. A business system gains more and more energy until it crosses the point of system resilience. To improve business competency and resilience, the risk management mechanism needs to be well embedded in soft business factors such as corporate culture and put in place a mandated risk tolerance structure via escalation requirements based on current risk ratings. So the organization can strike the right balance of standardization and flexibility, innovation and risk management.

Capability gaps stifle changes and cause failures of strategy management:
Capabilities enable business strategy. Business capability provides a differentiation and abilities to do things and finish tasks in a consistent manner. Capability-enabled strategy has significantly high success rate. Thus, identifying capability gaps and closing them effectively is a critical step in strategy management. Organizational capability mapping starts with the realization of the gaps where you currently no longer can deliver the strategic business objective for your company and shareholders. Determine what the future needs to look like, and what the transformation must look like, which capabilities you can build in house, which capability needs to be acquired; which capability is linear, which one is more integral? Als, compare your set of capabilities with competitors' to ensure that it is developing differentiated capabilities to gain unique competency.

It takes time and effort to build high mature organizational capabilities and core business competencies. To fill the capability gap, make a road map that sets goals for capability shaping and competence building. Discover the business strength that can be transformed into a core capability if it aligns with the strategic direction. One integral capability may be implemented by multiple capabilities. One core business competency is based on a set of relevant capabilities. High performing businesses depend on their differentiated sets of dynamic capabilities which are underpinned by the well-managed business processes matrix within the organization to enable strategy management and accelerate performance.

We are at the intersection of knowledge economy and creativity economy, strategy execution is often a multipath-driven, iterative continuum. There are numerous barriers and pitfalls on the way. The enterprises today need to become more open and responsive for adapting to changes, overcome challenges, keep the management processes and practices on track and achieve the desired outcome.


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