One of the most important processes that the management of an organization is responsible for performing is that of strategy. This process is of great importance, as it is the only structured way to transform organizations. Quite often, however, organizations fail to run it properly and as a result transform themselves effectively.
It is hard to imagine how a strategy that has been devised by experienced managers or consultants might not be of the highest quality. After all, millions of pages have been written oν strategy and this particular subject is quite intensively taught in all business schools around the world. However, even the most qualitative strategies fail. And why this is happening deserves some attention.
The proper design and the relevant formulation of the strategic narrative are extremely important. Strategic planning should start from the future to the present and take into account both the opportunities and the threats in the environment as well as the strengths and the weaknesses of the organization. At the same time, it should clearly describe what changes should be effected so that the desired results materialize. The most important thing is that all that all the above, that will become the new DNA of the organization, should be captured in a text that will not exceed one page so as to ensure the understanding of the strategy by the whole organization. The crystal clarity of the strategic choices is therefore of utmost importance.
The understanding of the strategy and its support from the management of the organization is also of great importance so that its success be secured. Its understanding, however, is a necessary but not a sufficient condition. Management should also support it. Its participation is therefore extremely important in its development. And in this way its consent may be secured.
A strategy that remains on paper stands no hope of implementation. And its implementation is effected step by step. Its analysis in action items for each manager of the organization is therefore of crucial importance. Those items should clearly answer the questions of why, of what, of how of who and when. It is only after those items are identified, recorded and decided that any strategy begins to have hope. But the way ahead is still long…
Absolutely no strategy, no matter how qualitatively it has been designed, no matter how it has been analyzed in action items, no matter how strongly it is supported by management, has any hopes of being implemented without a supportive structure. The structure and the interests that it incorporates have the power to lead any relevant endeavor to certain failure. After all, the structure represents the past of the organization while the strategy the future! They are therefore almost always in conflict.
The implementation of a well-designed and formulated strategy, supported by the organization’s management, analyzed to the appropriate action items and supported by a relevant structure, requires a rigorous action item review process. And it is only then that the desired changes will occur through the correct and timely implementation of exactly those action items.
Without any doubt, strategic planning is only the first step in the strategy process and perhaps the easiest. The real problem lies almost always in the implementation. And implementation can only be successful when the points described above receive due importance and attention.