How to successfully implement a strategic plan in your organization

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Be clear on what you want to accomplish and then figure out how to achieve it.

But is it that simple?

Every organization has its complexity which contributes to the challenge to the implementation process and the completion of a new strategy. The middle management plays a significant role in how to succeed or not succeed. There are many examples of how to fail.

It is much better to have a mediocre strategy well implemented than an exceptional strategy that is poorly implemented because the organization lacks the power to implement it. There are several factors that seem to have a big impact on the organization’s ability to execute a new strategy plan.

  1. Commitment

Commitment starts at the top, but it must not end there. Middle managers and line managers must also have the commitment and willingness to communicate the plan to employees. If you as CEO fails to involve the middle managements and the line managers in your organizations, the implementation will most likely be unsuccessful. The Norwegian author Dr. Ole Hope defended his PhD thesis in 2010 where his research confirms that the middle managers often fighting rounds of discussions – and sabotages a strategy they don’t like. Research shows that middle manager has significant “responsibility” for the outcome of a change process than previously thought.

  1. Ability and willingness to change.

Strategy implementation requires a willingness to change from head to toe. Some organizations embrace change while others resist changes to the bitter end. It was long known that the oil industry had rationalized to become more competitive. The industry was simply not willing to do it, or they lack the capacity to do so. This has resulted in the significant decline we’ve seen in the oil industry lately after the fall in oil prices.  Apple however has reinvented itself from a Mac to an entertainment and communications company that it is today. If you have followed the same strategy for 20 years, there is a good chance it’s time to change.

  1. An organizational structure that supports the new strategy.

One of the most effective workover tools available to a company is its organizational structure. Corporate strategic priorities reflected generally in the organizational structure. One strategy may require centralized control or decentralized flexibility. It can be designed to increase product development or generate increased efficiency through standardization of work processes within the organizations. The organizational structure must be designed to support the priorities required by the strategy. Here too we see that middle managers play a key role. A change in the organization’s strategic development are likely to be accompanied by a change in its organizational structure.

  1. Ability to measure progress.

Each implementation process has an element of trial and error learning. It is important to build a culture where its room to make errors. However, it is important to measure all work processes so it will be possible to learn from each error.  If you cannot measure and monitor the work processes, you cannot learn anything from your error. This is important, one should work with focus on continuous improvement. A learning organization must be able to define success and measure progress so it can learn from both successes and errors.

  1. A clear understanding of priorities.

You will not succeed with any strategy implementations before you develop a strategic plan on how to identify what the organization will engage with and who your customers will be. We often see that management is distracted from its strategy for opportunities that are constantly emerging. Some say they are doing strategy development constantly. Opportunity driven strategy development in all board meeting is just another way of saying that you do not have any focus. An organization will not evolve overtime if the board jump on new opportunities all the time. At best you will standstill over time. It takes time to develop a strategy plan and implement the strategy and let it work. One cannot adopt a strategy one week and the next week decide that the strategy is not working.


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