We have crafted 10 guiding principles to help the leaders, shrink the gap between strategy design and delivery. Practices may change, business models can be disrupted, technology evolves over time, but principles do not change. They are the soul of strategy design and delivery.
Strategy delivery doesn’t happen automatically once it is designed!
You invest substantial resources, creative time and energy in designing the right strategy, also you need to give equal priority and attention in delivering it, before you move on to something else. It’s an essential part of your role to ensure that your organization has the program delivery capability it needs to implement your strategy.
Do not underestimate entropy!
The planning required to succeed in today’s fast-changing and complex business environment is enormous. Once you have defined and clearly communicated the strategy, your responsibility shifts to overseeing the progress of implementation, so that the strategy delivers results and achieves its goals. You need to know where in your organization change happens and who manages the programs that drive the change. You are accountable for proactively addressing emerging gaps and challenges that may impact delivery. Without this discipline, rigor and care your strategy has little chance of success.
Inspire and assign the right people to get the job done!
Actively balance “running the business” and “changing the business” by selecting and securing the right resources for each role. Recognize and build leadership qualities among employees. Assign the best leaders with sufficient resources to tackle the most challenging programs essential for successful strategy implementation.
Don’t forget to look outside!
Continue to monitor customer needs, collect competitor insight and monitor the market landscape for major risks and dependencies. An advantage in the market flows to those who excel at gaining new insights from an ever-changing business environment and quickly responding with the right decisions and adjustments to both strategy design and delivery.
Encourage smart simplicity!
Initiating or rapidly reacting to dramatic changes in the business environment is an increasingly important capability for success. Many of the delivery challenges you will face, will be complex and interdependent. In the face of this, the best way to remain nimble is to surround you with simplifiers rather than complicators. You need people who can get to the core of an opportunity or threat, understand the drivers, deliver the information, and take the required action. That way, you minimize bureaucracy, explore ideas, take appropriate risks, prioritize work, ensure accountability and focus on delivering value through your strategic initiatives.
Beware of the “frozen middle!”
Interact with your middle and line managers about the strategy planning and gain inputs from them. Leadership must firmly establish a shared commitment to strategy-delivery priorities and regularly reinforce it. Govern with transparency to gain trust and enhance cross-business cooperation in delivery.
It goes to show that transparency and confidence in an organization can inspire employees to be engaged—meaning they’re involved, enthusiastic and committed to their work. most strategies for driving engagement share common goals, such as helping employees to feel valued and emotionally connected to their work
Follow your decisions through delivery!
Commit to making strategic decisions rapidly. Move quickly to correct course, reprioritize and remove roadblocks. Accept that you likely won’t have all the information you want and rely on those you can trust to deliver sufficient, reliable input to allow thoughtful decisions. Address risks and interdependencies explicitly — both upfront and regularly throughout the delivery. Build a lean and powerful governance structure to reinforce accountability, ownership and a bias towards action, based on agreed metrics and milestones.
Resist the temptation to declare victory too soon!
With the right governance, leadership, rigor and reporting capabilities in place, you can regularly evaluate your portfolio of strategic initiatives. Add new initiatives in response to new opportunities, but be sure you understand both the existing portfolio and your organization’s capacity to deliver change. Actively address any issues you discover. In the long term, strategic initiative management discipline is critical for effective orchestration of a dynamic initiative portfolio which will work only if robust assessment, support and course correction are in place.
Proper planning and preparation prevent poor performance!
The old axiom is as true as it ever was, but in today´s business environment, strategy planning cycles must be more rapid, dynamic and agile than in the past. Empower program delivery teams to experiment and learn in an environment where it is safe to fail fast. Discuss challenges openly and adjust the plan as needed for success. Learn to reward failure or at least accept it as a valuable input
Inspiring people is part of your job!
Yes, you have to drive accountability and focus on delivery, but you also need to motivate those who do the work. Actively shape a winning culture by engaging and exciting the people responsible for delivering strategic change programs. Celebrate success and quick wins. Generously and publicly acknowledge those who demonstrate the leadership behaviors and program delivery capabilities that make strategy succeed and ask them to share their experiences.