Strategy Execution1

Five key steps to successfully execute strategic plans

"A vision and strategy aren't enough. The long-term key to success is execution. Each day. Every Day "

"A vision and strategy aren't enough. The long-term key to success is execution. Each day. Every Day "

Richard M Kovacevich

Richard M Kovacevich

 

 

One major factor that makes most organizations stand out in a competitive business climate thrives on their ability to successfully execute strategic plans. It is not how robust a strategic plan is, instead, how it is strategically implemented to ensure business growth is vital. As a result, leaders must invest in improving organizational capability to ensure the successful execution of the strategic plans. Findings from a recent poll conducted by the BPC and Morning Consult (MC) revealed that 59% of small businesses affirmed that a decline in revenue was their top challenge. While another study revealed,

  • Internal factors hinder an organization’s growth and performance.
  • Poor execution of strategy is most organizations’ single biggest hindrance to growth.

One of the major reasons for poor execution is that most leaders often communicate strategic plans to members of staff in abstract language and leaves everyone wondering how to convert them into realistic and practical steps.

Successfully executing strategic plans is not as easy as formulating them, but here are five key steps to ensure the successful execution of strategic plans. 

Communicate clear Vision

Communication is key. Communication is indispensable. Communication is at the center of effective implementation of every strategic plan. Communication is the vessel for driving organizational performance, as it ensures all team members fully understand the objectives and goals of a project. To successfully execute strategic plans, the first thing to make sure is effective and clear communication. This goes a long way in ensuring that all team players fully understand their roles in carrying out the strategic plan.

Findings from a recent study revealed that poor or ineffective communication can affect an organization resulting in delay or failure to complete projects, reduced morale, increased stress, lack of motivation, and decrease in revenue and profit. Therefore, to ensure successful implementation of strategic plans, leaders need to effectively communicate realistic action steps in a clear, precise, and unambiguous way. This ensures the overall performance of executing strategic plans.

To communicate a clear vision, leaders across various units in an organization should create a robust communication strategy by clearly explaining the objectives and motivation behind each organizational strategic plan. This is important because, with clear communication of the organization’s vision, each employee across various levels in the organization will fully understand their role(s) in the execution process of the strategic plan.

Build Organizational Capability

Any organization that wants to successfully execute strategic plans, has to ensure it builds organizational capability. Having a good strategic plan is indispensable in achieving organizational growth, however, building organizational capability is vital in executing the strategic plan. Hiring the right people, continuously enhancing their skills, implementing efficient processes, and leveraging technology are essential to seamlessly execute strategic plans.

Organizations should consistently assess performance, identify gaps, and implement plans to close the gap between strategy and execution. Today, the business environment is changing rapidly. A proactive approach and ongoing process to build capabilities will help organizations to constantly improve performance, boost agility, and adapt to change.   

The objective of a strategic plan is to give organizations a competitive advantage to thrive in the marketplace. Hence, building organizational capabilities is essential to build a strong foundation to achieve the strategic vision and for a sustainable competitive advantage.

Implement adaptable and flexible strategies

Every successful leader works hard to successfully execute the strategic plans, though what leading organizations do is that they design their strategic plans implementation process to be adaptable and flexible. Flexibility in the implementation of strategic plans does not imply not taking business goals seriously, but it implies that strategies are built to be more adaptable. What ensures an excellent execution of a strategic plan is how well a plan is built to adapt to unforeseen and unpredictable business trends.

Charles Darwin reinforces the importance of adaptivity, ‘It is not the strongest of the spices that survive nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

The greatest advantage of any execution plan is adaptability and flexibility. This is a skill that leaders need to introduce to planning and executing strategic goals.

Strong Leadership

Many factors mutually ensure the successful execution of strategies, strong leadership, however, play the most crucial role in determining the strategies overall performance, as everything falls and rises on leadership. One major role leaders play in the strategy execution process is to clearly defined the goals and roles of every key player in implementing strategies.

Findings from a survey by PWC revealed that most organizations affirmed that their major problem when it comes to strategy development and execution was having conflicting and too many strategic initiatives. This further reinforces how crucial strong leadership is in the strategy execution process. As it is the responsibility of the leaders and top executives to give clear and precise goals, objectives, and roles. Ensuring strong leadership is indispensable in executing strategies because it reinforces clear vision, precise operations, and cultivates a motivating work culture.

Measuring Performance

Another effective way of ensuring excellent implementation of strategies is by constantly measuring business performance, and also measure the effectiveness of the implemented strategies. Measuring business performance is important because it helps improve productivity and efficiency in the strategy execution process.

Measuring performance in an organization is crucial in facilitating better performance. Organizations should measure the productivity of their strategies by defining and using the key performance indicators (KPI) to predict how executed strategies will perform. This is very important because a KPI is very versatile and yet an effective approach in evaluating the overall organization’s performance.

Final Thoughts

Entrepreneurs and business leaders must be careful in their approach to executing strategic plans as the business environment is vulnerable to unpredictable and unforeseen trends that can destabilize business productivity. How an organization implements strategic plans goes a long way in determining the outcome and performance of such strategies.

It is therefore imperative that leaders should invest more time and resources in drafting and developing strong, flexible, adaptable, clear, and evaluated strategies to implement business goals and objectives. Successful execution of strategies is key to business growth, performance, and productivity, as it makes organizations compete effortlessly with their competitors.

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