Strategy Archives - H. Pierson

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Author: H.Pierson’s Strategy Team

According to research published by Harvard Professors Robert Kaplan and David Norton (2008), the rate of strategy execution failure in businesses ranges from as high as 60% to 90%. Many organisations will fall short of their goals, especially when there are disruptions in the business environment within which they operate.

However, there are opportunities to set self apart and lead organisations to success, through execution acceleration and moving from a reactive to a proactive approach. The following pillars should be in place to successfully implement your plans; a clear strategic vision, the right people and culture, accountability and enterprise performance reporting.

A Clear Strategic Vision

“If you do not know where you are going, you might end up someplace else.” —Yogi Berra

Properly articulating a vision is vital for any business, particularly in a fast-paced and rapidly evolving sector. A poorly crafted and unclear vision statement will most likely lead to poor execution. Hence, a vivid vision is critical to successfully executing the strategic plan. The vision statement should clearly define unique values, success definition, and destination. It must achieve strong human connections within the organisation in order to be assured of its successful execution.

One way of getting your employees on board with the vision is to deploy The Visualisation Approach. This process entails the use of stories and visual comprehension modes to achieve a deeper connection to the vision. This approach increases group internalisation and follow-through by explicitly connecting the strategic intent to the desired execution outcomes.

Do you need to activate your vision or strategy? You can book a free consultation with us.

The Right People and Culture

“44% rank aligning the implementation of strategy to company culture as the toughest challenge.” – Cascade (2020)

Better execution starts with successfully activating strategy into the culture, yet most organisations do not usually see the line between culture and strategy execution. Even where they do, they are unable to achieve the desired impact on execution.  In truth, the successful execution of a strategy ultimately depends on individual members, especially key managers. Therefore, aligning strategy with learning and internalization, managing, measuring, and rewarding people is critical to effective strategy execution. Today’s management must put strategy activation, a strong company culture, employee competence, and experience as a priority. Otherwise, the consequences will be reflected in the strategy’s execution.

H. Pierson provides a powerful tool for aligning the culture, energies, and talent of your employees towards achieving your organization’s strategic objectives. Our Strategy Activation and Cascading Solutions close the gap in strategy development. Download our brochure.

“The ability to make good decisions regarding people represents one of the last reliable sources of competitive advantage since very few organizations are very good at it.”—Peter Drucker

Accountability and Enterprise Performance Reporting

Who in the organisation is responsible for tracking the progress of specific strategic initiatives?
How do you ensure updates are on time and accurate?
Frequently, strategic initiatives fail because no one is held accountable for their progress. When a team or multiple individuals are the “owners” of an initiative, there is no one clear-cut accountable party.

The accountability and reporting process can be broken into data collection, data analysis and reports. Data collection is the process of collating information from disparate places into one system, to enable your analysis and decision-making with as much information as possible. Data analysis entails the examination of data to learn more about the story, with the use of data visualisation to increase comprehension through charts, grids, colour-coded icons, heat maps, dashboards etc. It helps to identify what is on and off-target, as well as what is needed to adapt into existing plans based on emerging observations. Reports help to distribute findings so that team(s) can review and discuss them for decision-making purposes.

Enterprise Performance Reporting is essentially about organising performance data, so that grey areas can be quickly identified within the execution process, track improvements, and ultimately foster accountability and execution success.

Through our 30+ years of experience working with clients across multiple sectors, we know what it takes to overcome challenges in the execution of your corporate strategies. This is achieved by fully deploying our proprietary tools and techniques that drive firm-wide strategy execution.

 

References

Kaplan, R.S., & Norton, D.P. (2008). The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage. Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press

Team, C. (2020, March 13). 51 Strategy Statistics and 3 Key Lessons to Help You Succeed. Retrieved from Cascade: https://www.cascade.app/blog/51-strategy-statistics

Thiru, T. (2020, February 19). How to Bridge the Gap between Vision and Execution. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/02/19/how-to-bridge-the-gap-between-vision-and-execution/?sh=24f6e5e63548


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In times of uncertain economics, organisations are forced into making or considering changes. Some opt for simple radical surgery and cut out unnecessary or redundant resources. Others try a more complex solution and restructure their operations. Both approaches are fraught with difficulty – and as we know from history, the majority of organisation changes fail to reach their objectives. Professor John Kotter at Harvard Business school identifies eight key causes, most of which pointed to a dis-connect between the leaders and employees in an organisation – the leaders had good ideas but failed to get them across effectively.

This research, along with other studies, confirms that organisations are not like machines, which can be

‘re-engineered’, but are complex social processes. Some of which are determined by structures and formal systems of the organisation, but most of which are ‘informal.

So with either approach, there are likely to be difficulties. Radical surgery leaves people feeling ‘survivor sickness’ and exhibiting lower productivity. People are displaced and disgruntled, worrying about their own future rather than focusing on the development of the new organisation. In more complex changes, people take time – often too long – to come to terms with the new realities and relationships and the main opportunity is lost.

We know from other studies that people are affected personally by change in different ways. To be successful, a change programme needs to take account of these effects and work to minimise the negative impact.

The key to success therefore lies in engaging with the informal processes, the interactions between everyone in the organisation which constitute the way the organisation actually works.


The questions

Strategies that will yield success are those that motivate and stimulate employees. We also know that the knowledge of what to do is not confined to the executive suite. More often than not, the solutions are already known, but lack the commitment to be implemented (as the GE WorkOut™ process has proven over many years). How can you involve employees in the creation of these change strategies?

Involvement of all stakeholders interests in the organisation, not just the financial shareholders’, is critical in creating a viable strategy. Pursuing an inclusive agenda that focuses on the needs of its customers, employees, suppliers and the wider community is one that has the greater chance of success. How do you create real dialogue with the stakeholders and reconcile differences that will generate that inclusive, successful strategy?

In times of difficulty we often forget that a lot of what we do actually does work. There is a danger of throwing the good out with the bad, especially when involved in surgical change. Again, research identifies that working with strengths and enhancing what works has greater success than trying to fix weaknesses and what doesn’t work. How can you identify the root of success rather than the root causes of failure?

There is always the difficult problem of engaging people and getting them committed to the future. How do you translate negative fear and apprehension into positive energy working to succeed through the troubled times?

And there is the problem of time and money – or lack of it! Many re-organisation and change processes are known to take months, if not years of concentrated effort, and a lot of resources. So, how do you manage to engage people, develop strategies and get commitment to implementation in a fast and cost effective manner?


The answers

The answers to these questions lie in engaging in whole system participation events.

The events – Appreciative Inquiry Summits, Future Search Conferences, Real Time Strategic Change, Open Space Conferences, World Café, etc – utilise systems thinking and allow everyone associated with the problem or organisation to be involved, employees and stakeholders alike. Simultaneous involvement of hundreds of people allows for exchange of ideas, gathering of strategic information, decision making and planning in a single event – or linked series – of events typically lasting 2-3 days.

By focusing on positive outcomes and best practice, participants in these events experience enjoyable ways of working that release creativity and breakthrough results. They replace the passive ‘tell and sell’ model with high levels of participation and co-creating, so generating commitment – there is no need to get ‘buy in’, the participants are the joint architects of the strategy, so they are highly committed and motivated to it. Implementation starts immediately.

For example, in one company, Appreciative Inquiry was used to conduct analysis of the total system which was completed in less than two weeks by the employees themselves. In another, a summit meeting brought together all 750 employees, the company’s leadership, and 100 customers to create a new business model – a year on, profits were up over 200 percent and absenteeism down 300 percent. In another application, IKEA simultaneously doubled sales, improved quality and cut the price 30% without cutting profit of it Ektorp range whilst making sofa shopping easier for customers, and cutting delivery times – all in a concentrated three day event involving 52 stakeholders including suppliers, executives and workers from Sweden, Canada, the U.S. and other countries, and several customers.

Fast – and cost effective – solutions. These events utilise internal experience and expertise with consultants providing the expert design and facilitation of the events themselves. Thus the consultancy cost is vastly less than traditional change consultancy where the consultants become integrated in the organisation to advise expert solutions. And the outcomes are achieved more quickly – and are more acceptable to the workforce.

Culled from hr.com


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