The evidence points to strategy emerging rather than being prescribed.
Strategy management is about creating tomorrow’s organization out of today. As today, strategy has very low success rate; the problem in the execution is mainly driven by traditional management that is not prepared for systemic approaches or is only focused on short term effects. The success of strategy management undoubtedly lies in the ”timely execution” and this can be achieved only through effective leadership, employee engagement, persistent innovation, and follow up with strong governance discipline.
Leadership inquisitiveness: Leadership is about the future and change. Leadership practice is, at its heart, a problem-solving process. Nowadays, strategy management is an iterative continuum. The superior execution requires the leaders’ inquisitiveness – dig through the root cause by asking insightful questions. Leaders and they should listen, communicate, and rally the team for the cause. It is far easier to proactively structure and manage execution via authentic communication and organizational focus than to deal with the ravages of execution dysfunction reactively. Successful strategy management depends on inquisitiveness and a certain talent that great leaders exhibit, which can draw the total organization with them and result in a truly energized, dynamic, and sustained effort behind strategy management.
Uncertainty simply requires dynamic planning and flexibility in implementing strategies. A disengaged executive leadership style is more likely to produce a company with unconnected priorities and strategies that lack support in the management team. Strategy implementation is about initiating and managing necessary changes from the current state to both the strategic positions and designated action capability at the positions. The visual map is an effective tool for inquisitive leaders to understand the whole business situation, tell compelling stories for motivating changes. It’s not just about strategic ideas, but making the strategy a living thing.
The art and science of strategy implementation: Strategy development is a combination of art, science, and your own realization about the best future collectively. Realization indicates the wisdom that you have learned by observing your previous actions to make continuous improvement. The challenge is that ‘science’ can often be “sterile” or rational; it is the “art” which brings life, form, meaning, customized design and practical application to what we gain from science in business strategy management.
Strategy management is situational. Sometimes it may be 80% science and 20% art. Other times, it is 80% art and 20% science – or some other balance between the two. Sometimes “science” means processes and the suggestions of a tame problem, and “art” suggests a more creative approach to solve complex problems. It is all about “balance” between science and art, which can be situational. It starts as art and ends with science. The “art” comes in both aspects: initial strategy formulation is a highly creative process; better strategic options usually result from a more creative and open process. If the product or service delivered is transformational, it will be art, science, and art. Indeed, all scientific principles relevant to the strategy should be used but with artistic improvisation.
Talent accountability: Accountability is the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, managers should guide, direct, own the strategy they hold themselves accountable for strategy implementation. In fact, talent accountability is the step stone for the organization to implement the strategy in a predictive way. Lack of accountability is often one of the biggest obstacles in the organization, especially in traditional, well-established businesses to get things done, stifle changes, decelerate the speed of strategy management. Accountability can be harnessed by motivating your employees to achieve higher than expected results, build a culture of learning, trust, and professionalism.
Accountability goes hand in hand with the delegation of authority or power. Design a performance management system to enforce accountability and accelerate strategy implementation. In the team or organizational setting, shared accountability involves shared ownership, empathetic communication. If you ensure the individuals have the autonomy within their tasks for co-solving strategic problems, you will be able to address performance on an equal partnership basis. The true measure of accountability is about resilience. It is determined not by whether someone or a team makes a mistake or not, but on how quickly they can recover so that customers, teammates, and others aren’t negatively affected by the breakdown. In fact, they can gain lessons learned, keep improving and improve strategy management effectiveness.
In today’s dynamic or unstable business circumstances, strategy execution excellence is difficult to achieve because it is both art and science, hard and soft; decisions and acting, quantity and quality. The evidence points to strategy emerging rather than being prescribed. Execution is a broader arena which has to connect more non-linear dots and take multi-disciplinary understanding and capabilities to achieve high performance results with continuous deliveries.