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Developing a strategy document will not be enough

Developing a strategy document will not be enough

 

A number of senior managers have been involved in strategy formulation for a while. Unfortunately, that is where it ends, strategy formulation. The real trouble starts when it comes to implementing the agreed plans.

The problem lies with the senior management. They come up with plans and expect their subordinates to implement them. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to ignore such plans if they have not been consulted when the plans were being formulated. Management should learn to engage and seek the commitment of all stakeholders when formulating plans that are going to affect them. Gone are the days when senior management alone was seen as the engine of the company. The right approach is to engage all stakeholders in your organisation.

Organisations waste a lot of their resources planning but achieve very little on the execution side. Unless management shed off the mindset that they alone are the people who know what needs to be done in order for the organisation to prosper, the dreaded execution gap will remain in many organisations. You would be surprised as management to know that some of the solutions to problems you are struggling with are actually with your staff members.

Senior management needs to learn the discipline of execution for it to be able to effectively implement agreed plans. This normally starts with the CEO and the Board “walking the talk”. Don’t expect your staff to implement your plans because you are the CEO. Intelligent and informed staff members will ask themselves ‘why’ first before they start acting on the plans. If they do not see a compelling reason for the action to be taken, they are unlikely to implement your plans effectively.

The role of the CEO therefore is to make sure all staff members understand the reasons for embarking on such plans. After that the CEO then needs to show that they are serious by “walking the talk’’. Implementing agreed plans is a change process and the change should start with the CEO. All other staff members watch what the CEO does. If you tell your staff you want to cut costs, first show them that you are serious by not engaging in any activity that will send the wrong message. It is therefore not advisable to purchase any luxurious items that are not mission-critical for the organisation at a time the organisation is struggling to contain costs. Unless and until senior management starts watching their behaviour they will find it difficult to convince other staff members to change.

Most organisations lack a professional performance ethic, which is the organisation- wide relentless focus; energy, commitment, and enthusiasm that align and drive people to execute agreed plans and achieve superior business results. The ability to execute strategy and other company wide plans differentiates who wins and who loses in the current economic challenges.

Ownership is one other key ingredient required for the successful execution of strategy. Several ideas were developed in the corporate world. However, these were not seen through as a result of no one taking ownership when it came to execution. Companies routinely underestimate what it takes to execute agreed plans. People get excited when formulating new plans but then drag their feet when it comes to implementation.

What does it take to excel at execution? Getting things done does not seem quite as exciting as the process of formulating plans. Look at successful companies. They are very good at executing agreed plans. Managers at all levels struggle when it comes to execution. They are all very good at talking but at the end of the day nothing gets done. Execution is the missing link between aspirations and results and as such making it happen is the business leader’s most important job. The major huddle that business organisations face today is the inability of the leadership to execute agreed plans. Brilliant ideas are generated in company meetings from board level to the lowest cell in the organisation but they never get executed outside the boardroom. All the successful businesses that we see today are a result of those people being able to do whatever they will have said they would do. This is where the majority of us fail, execution.

For the execution gap to be closed empower your managers to make things happen and give them the leeway to consult only when they are getting lost. Set clear priorities, and take the most constructive actions to follow through. Execution-driven leaders, who thrive on accountability and reward performance, must select the right people for the right jobs.

 

Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant – Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. He hosts a radio program HR Perspective every Thursday at 1900hrs on Capitalk 100.4FM . https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

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