Don't take your eyes off implementation

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Don't take your eyes off implementation

  1. 1. strategy Don't take your eye off implementation PATRICK GOH/THE EDGE by Aznita Ahmad Pharmy about them. By the time the new strategy was Speculand’s Implementation announced, they were prepared for it. Compass for leaders I mplementing a strategy is never easy; the “Emotionally, they got on board and then number of failed strategies over the years we explained numerically why the transfor- 1) People — leaders need to engage staff is proof of it. Eight years of research by mation needed to happen. The change was members — their ‘strategy customers’ Bridges Consultancy show that nine out very well-received,” says Speculand. — and encourage them to take right of 10 strategies fail to be implemented Culture also plays an important role in actions. successfully. Something needs to change deciding how well a strategy is accepted by 2) Biz Case – the leader must explain and it starts with the leaders. But before they employees. “The message here is that when both emotionally and numerically why think about what they can do differently, lead- a leader implements a strategy, it has to fit in the new strategy is important. ers need to understand their role in strategy with the way the organisation works,” says 3) Communication – if you don’t implementation. Speculand. communicate well, people won’t “The leader has to oversee the implementa- Culture and communication are among the understand the change. tion.They have to make sure people take action eight areas leaders must focus on in a frame- 4) Measure – put in place the right in the right direction.They have to understand work based on the one Speculand explained in measure when you come up with their role; most don’t.They either do too little his first book, written six years ago.The other a new strategy, such as balance or too much,” says Robin Speculand, chief ex- areas are: people,business case,measure,proc- scorecard, financial and process ecutive of Bridges Consultancy International, ess, reinforce and review. measures. in a recent interview. “It’s like a compass, so there’s no one area 5) Culture — a strategy has to fit in with Speculand is the author of Beyond Strategy, more important than the other; some are more the company’s culture. which outlines what leaders can do differently important for different organisations. One cli- 6) Process – if you ask people to deliver to successfully implement strategy. ent may work on communication while another customer service fast and efficiently One reason why implementation remains Speculand: If it Before announcing its new may work on measurement,” says Speculand. but they’re using obsolete systems, one of the biggest hurdles leaders face is because takes one year tocustomer-centric strategy in “You’ve got to look at all of the eight, some then there is a disconnect between they habitually underestimate it, he says. craft a strategy,2003, Microsoft Asia-Pacific are more important than others but you have to what you say and what you do. “They [leaders] think the biggest challenge is it will take at decided to create awareness address each and every one simultaneously.” 7) Reinforcements – when people step to come up with the strategy.When it comes to among its staff. Speculand’s least two years to The global financial crisis has only heightened up and demonstrate the actions and implementation, many of them take their eyes implement it consultancy,which worked to- the importance of implementation,and this has behaviours aligned with the strategy, off the ball. One of the rules of thumb — if it’s gether with Microsoft at the helped his consultancy experience a 5% growth reward and recognise them, not just taking you one year to craft a strategy, it will time, placed posters that would arouse curi- over the last 18 months, says Speculand. financially but emotionally. take you at least two years to implement it,” osity in the back office. One poster showed a “Leaders are under tremendous pressure to 8) Review – this is the weakest area of explains Speculand. plane flying with dark clouds on the horizon deliver for shareholders. In the past, if some- leaders around the world. The entire One of the things leaders need to do is fo- and a caption that read, “Sunny weather today thing went wrong, companies just threw in implementation needs to be reviewed cus on communication.A new strategy usually but there’s turbulence just ahead”. more money.Today, they don’t have the capital quarterly and parts of it every two to faces resistance and this is where communica- A few more posters showed up over the next to do that.As a result, leaders have to do it right three weeks. tion can help. few weeks and before long, staff started talking the first time.”

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