Feature                                                 JORDAN BUSINESS JANUARY 2010            69




Leadership:
From St...
70    Feature                                                                                  JORDAN BUSINESS JANUARY 201...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Leadership: From Strategy To Implementation

2,183 views
2,070 views

Published on

In the first of a two-part series, author and strategy implementation specialist
Robin Speculand looks at why strategy fails to translate into execution and
why that is a question leaders should be asking themselves.

Published in: Business, Education
0 Comments
2 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
2,183
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
28
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
2
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Leadership: From Strategy To Implementation

  1. 1. Feature JORDAN BUSINESS JANUARY 2010 69 Leadership: From Strategy To Implementation In the first of a two-part series, author and strategy implementation specialist Robin Speculand looks at why strategy fails to translate into execution and why that is a question leaders should be asking themselves. “ We have a ‘strategic’ plan. It’s called doing things.” – Herb Kelleher, former chief execu- tive officer of Southwest Airlines In the last few months, there has been a sudden explosion in books, blogs and articles highlighting how strategy implementation fails more often than it succeeds. The current economic sit- uation has heavily contributed to the explosion. “Every cloud has a silver lining” is the idiom. The recession impact has been scrupu- lously documented and we are hope- fully turning the corner, although there are a few voices warning of a double dip. One benefit of the recession is that leaders become better leaders. The pressure on them today to deliver to shareholders is greater than it has ever been before. They must get it right the first time. In many situations, working capital has been dramatically reduced, markets have shrunk and customers and shareholders are more demanding. Failure Is Old News Crafting and implementing are the main responsibilities of leaders, with historical evidence pointing to the trend towards focusing more on crafting than implementing. The success rate of im- plementation is abysmal, with a 90% failure rate. Previously, when they failed to implement, leaders quickly jumped to a new strategy, lowered the targets or threw more money at the problem (or blamed the consultant). In today’s market, leaders are un- der more pressure than ever before to punctually deliver on their promises to shareholders. As a result, they need to successfully implement the strategy
  2. 2. 70 Feature JORDAN BUSINESS JANUARY 2010 and this has resulted in greater inter- create key performance indicators? Align est in the field. Unfortunately, what is the culture to the implementation or rede- missing from the current literature is sign processes to support the strategy? One benefit of the recession is that leaders become better leaders. The pressure on them today to deliver to shareholders is greater than it has ever been before. a framework and an understanding of The decision can be overwhelming what leaders must do differently. The and, as a result, many leaders resort to focus is mostly on the staggering failure what they can manage; that is, solving rate, which is not new news. It has been the operational issues. On average, ten years since Fortune magazine pub- leaders spend 85% of their time per lished the oft-quoted cover story “Why month on operational issues and only CEOs Fail” that explained how “orga- 15% on strategy and its implementa- nizations fail to successfully implement tion. This is a recipe for failure and the strategy; explain how important it is to strategy not because of bad strategy but must be reversed. the organization’s future and then you can because of bad execution.” more or less ignore its implementation. Destination: Implementation Seven years ago, Ram Charan followed Successful implementation means Staff members will revert to focusing up this article by teaming up with Larry that leaders must translate strategy on what you focus on. If an action is Bossidy to write Execution: The Disci- into actions that staff members ought important, leaders must follow through pline of Getting Things Done. to take every day and then oversee the on it. If you only pay lip service to an implementation. When working with action, then your staff members will The book introduced the field of ex- a leadership team recently, I discov- also only pay lip service to it. ecution to business leaders and ex- ered that they could not explain what plained why execution was important. they wanted their people to do dif- Tips Of The Trade Six years ago, I wrote the bestseller ferently as a result of hearing about To greatly enhance the odds of success Bricks to Bridges: Make Your Strate- the new strategy. The leadership team in your organization – remembering the gy Come Alive, in which I argued that understands the strategy, but had not odds are stacked against you before you nine out of 10 times strategy fails and considered the strategy’s implications even started, with nine out of ten imple- so does the framework for success. for individual areas of the business mentations failing – I strongly recom- and its people’s day-to-day activities. mend making sure your staff members Decisions, Decisions and leaders are taking the right actions. What leaders want to know is what Leaders generally know that imple- they must do differently. Implementa- mentation requires extra effort. In In the second part of this article, I will tion is about taking the right action. reality, however, very few are able or discuss how leaders identify the right This may sound simple, but real- even willing to free up valuable time action for implementing strategy. ity dictates otherwise. Leaders must and resources to do justice to the im- oversee the implementation journey plementation journey. They become Implementation Never Goes and ensure staff members are taking so caught up in managing the day- According to Plan the right action. to-day business that they lose sight of their goal to implement the new Leaders must: After launching a strategy, however, a strategy and instead end up taking the • Spend more time reviewing leader needs to decide what action should wrong actions. strategy and implementation than dealing with operations. On average, leaders spend 85% of their time per month on operational issues and only • Base decisions on intuition combined with facts from the 15% on strategy and its implementation. This reviews. is a recipe for failure and must be reversed. • Conduct reviews to ensure you be taken next. Encourage staff members Once you identify the right action, leaders achieve desired outcomes. by redesigning performance manage- must fully support staff members. Consider ment? Develop a communication plan or the signal you are sending when you launch

×