This guest post is by Atlee Valentine Pope, co-author of “CoDestiny: Overcome Your Growth Challenges by Helping Your Customers Overcome Theirs” and co-founder of Blue Canyon Partners, a strategy consulting firm that helps business-to-business and business-to-government customers develop and implement growth strategies.
If good strategy is unaccompanied by strong implementation, then the strategy ends up becoming simply a report that sits on a shelf, gathering dust. In our experience, strategy implementation is difficult. Execution teams often have inadequate resources and imprecise action plans; employee buy-in becomes elusive. To avoid these pitfalls, we believe business leaders need to do the following:
- Put an “A” player in charge. Implementation is the most critical challenge facing an organization, and the person assigned to lead this change must be passionate and committed to its success. All too often, organizations hand implementation over to a project manager who is between assignments, in a temporary job/career situation or happens to have available capacity. “A” players are scarce resources, but they are exactly the talent required for successful implementation of your strategy.
- Make the executive team accountable. Accountability for strategy to be implemented correctly, on-time, and within budget belongs at the top of the organization. Senior management has to be engaged. They have to be willing to ask the tough questions, and be responsible for solving problems. Senior sponsorship with formal review meetings and milestone updates demonstrates to staff members that the implementation project is important.
- Engage implementation team members from beginning to end. When implementation team members are involved in the strategy development sessions, they are more likely to “get it.” If not, implementation can be subject to misinterpretation.
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