Devising a strategy is one thing; seeing it through quite another
The accelerating rate of change in the business environment raises new claims for formulation and execution of strategies. But whilst most companies have strategies, far fewer achieve them.The moment new or revised visions and strategic orientations are fleshed out in a concrete, detailed business models and activities, organizations have to turn strategy into action.Effective execution requires first of all a planning that is seamlessly linked to action. Without undertaking planning it is impossible to foresee what changes are essential to implement the strategy. However, the problem that frequently occurs is that intended changes do not sink in. Realizing a permanent change in the way of operating requires a rigorous, disciplined process, coupled to the softer side of culture change. Through the processes of implementation (the social organization of bringing practices into action) and embedding (process through which practices become routinely incorporated in everyday work of individuals and groups) new or modified standards of thinking, enacting, and organizing work are operationalized in organizations. NOOTABEENE equips business leaders on both strategy execution and change management, enabling the relentless follow through that successful strategic change and transformation demand.
Enable the formulated strategy to be successfully implemented and sustained
Strategy execution is fundamentally about translating (conceptual) strategies into concrete actions that together can realize the formulated strategies and in turn, achieve key organizational objectives. Many organizations struggle to translate the theory into action plans that will enable the strategy to be successfully implemented and sustained. And even if plans are defined, they often stay plans. Typically, the energy and enthusiasm generated during the planning process quickly ebb away, swamped by the weight of day to day operational bothers. The organization and its people gravitate to fire-fighting and reactive task scheduling, instead of planning proactively to execute the strategic plan.
A strategy only bears fruit if it is lived to the full throughout the entire company. Strategy execution is inseparable from motivational leadership with the capability to communicate, engage and mobilize the people within the company. Business leadership needs to communicate the strategy and underlying rationale for change clearly and candidly, to help ensure that management and employees know, understand and buy into (both rationally and emotionally) in order for every one of them to make his or her contribution. People look to leaders to bring meaning, to make sense of the seemingly indefatigable demand for results, and to grasp the need for individuals to find purpose and value. Key is to implement with transparency and rigor as change invariably encounters resistance.
Many organizations have both sound strategies and efficient operations, but often there is no clear relationship between the two. The services offered by NOOTBEENE are essentially about closing this commonly found gap, ensuring alignment between strategy and the various routes through which execution is intended to occur. NOOTABEENE collaborates with clients to develop, or adapt an execution plan, and then goes to work implementing it side-by-side with their managers and staff. NOOTABEENE provides clients with the right tools, methodologies, skills and knowledge, to enable their employees to execute the strategy themselves.
Sometimes successful strategy execution requires business process redesign, a new organization design with a clear rationale in terms of effectiveness, or a new approach to performance measurement. More often, however, smaller changes will deliver the desired effect: for instance altering commitment and reward, or developing a strategic HR capability. Other interrelated elements critical to strategy execution are strategic project management, roles and responsibilities definition, capability development, and strategic risk management. NOOTABEENE’s strategy execution offering helps clients to:
• Devise a systematic execution process, along with a supportive communication strategy
• Break long-term, complex project and change initiatives into actionable components
• Build business cases and financial models to make strategic initiatives tangible
• Rationalize and prioritize the portfolio of strategic initiatives
• Generate enthusiasm and buy-in at all levels
• Create commitment to projects and business results
• Design an organizational structure that allows for empowerment and communication
• Mobilize and align the organization for change
• Create tactics and set short-term goals at the local level
• Implement reporting and change management processes
• Build executive alignment and accountability around a comprehensive execution plan
Review the effectiveness of your strategy realization process on common pitfalls to decide if NOOTABEENE’s support is required to boost execution success:
• Is an executable strategy developed and translated into activities?
• Are timelines and milestones defined?
• Is progress tracked closely against specific milestones to identify and mitigate risks?
• Is the progress on the delivery of targets and KPIs satisfactory?
• How closely do your people associate their own roles with your organizational purpose?
• Do your people understand the corporate message and aims, and do they see themselves as an integral part of the effort?
• Is clear what success looks like and how it will be measured?
• Are the (strategic) projects effectively led and resourced?
• Are roles, responsibilities, accountability, and resources clearly defined?
• Are the strategic action plans cascaded out in detailed work plans?
• Does insight exist into the root causes of high or low performance by employees?
Create the capacity for constant change
To face a barrage of challenges, organizations undertake projects and change management initiatives all the time, typically involving fundamental changes to the organization's strategy, structure, operating systems, capabilities, and culture. As varied as these challenges are, they all point to one fundamental business imperative: organizations must develop the capacity to continually change—and do so without buckling under the pressure of new ways of working or disrupting their ongoing business operations. However, organizations have difficulty turning their business ideas into reality. Improvement efforts typically fail because organizations do not apply essential change management principles. Still, the decision to undertake a project, or institute a major structural change, is not supported by a strong business case. Neither are change plans developed that guide the workforce along the journey to the new way of working. Workforces are not aligned with strategic priorities to ensure that employees understand the impact they have on the organization’s performance. Employees are de-motivated, feeling that they have been excluded from the process, and unwilling or unable to acquire the skills and knowledge to embrace new procedures and processes. Whether the change is large or small, the ability to manage it is a critical condition for high performance.
To create a capacity for constant change, business leaders must instil in their employees a willingness and ability to embrace change. For companies to improve their chances for success, leadership has to provide commitment and sponsorship, significantly raise employee expectations, communicate their vision and objectives clearly and creatively, engage individuals, and actively change people's behaviour at all levels of the organization. This responsibility does not, however, fall solely to business leaders. To achieve optimal business performance, organizations must establish ownership of program success throughout the business. This requires business readiness activities, defining the metrics to determine successes (and failures), and learning initiatives, such as performance simulation, which employ a learn-by-doing approach to get employees comfortable with new systems and processes.
NOOTABEENE supports clients to create the capability to handle any change that may become apparent in the future. NOOTABEENE provides a disciplined approach to manage the change process and to ensure that the structure is aligned with the new strategic objectives. This approach takes the complex interdependencies between the stakeholders, the company, and the employees into account, that arise when an organization institutes major organizational changes.
NOOTABEENE enables organizations to identify the changes needed to achieve business goals, prepare for coming changes, and manage the complex organizational and workforce transition to the desired end state. Our professionals can assist clients to align values, attitudes and behaviours with the strategic objectives, and transit employees into the new organizational mode through training and education. Organizations that may benefit from NOOTABEENE’s change management services have changed their organizational objectives, have made internal changes or experienced changes to their environment, are seeking to grow or have grown rapidly, seek to retrench or have decreased in size, or have been recently bought or sold.
Review your change management processes on common pitfalls to decide if NOOTABEENE’s support is required to create a capacity for constant change:
• Does the majority of employees think optimistic about change?
• Is an effective control mechanism deployed for managing complex projects?
• Are effective tools and templates developed to support projects?
• Is any project undertaken driven by business objectives?
• Is a process in place to manage stakeholders who may be affected by major changes to your company’s way of doing business?
• Are people development programs designed to ensure that your employees acquire the skills and knowledge demanded by company-wide change projects?
• Are project initiation documents standard, to help documenting a project’s possible benefits, scope, detailed cost/benefit analysis, a calendar of deliverables, related projects, reliable metrics for tracking successes (and failures), and unforeseen consequences?