A brilliant strategy can put you on the competitive map, but only solid implementation and execution by an aligned organisation will keep you there. When the strategic choice has been made, i.e. when the company’s formula for winning has been formulated, the company is ready to tackle the issues of strategy implementation. Some strategies never get executed because they remain closely guarded secrets by the leadership team. To be effective, the workforce must be mobilised. So, how do we get our organisation to do what we want it to do?

There is no “magic bullet” for effectively executing a strategy, and this can be a daunting task in large, complex organisations. Without a clear sense of where the organisation is heading and why, lower organisational levels cannot put executable plans in place. Thus, if a clear link cannot be drawn between the strategy and its execution, then the organisation is not ready for execution.

In efforts to execute the strategy and improve performance, many organisations only addresses structural measures, since moving lines and boxes around the organisational chart seems to be the simplest solution and the changes are visible and concrete. Such steps may reap some short-term benefits, but they address only the symptoms of dysfunction, not the root causes. After a while, these companies usually end up in the same position as they started.

Structural changes may be part of what is needed to improve execution, but there are additional pillars that need to be considered. Aligning the organisation behind the strategy involves possible changes in:

• Structure and processes
• People
• Culture
• Measurements and rewards

When executing a strategy, the job is to make sure that the organisation in its broader sense is fully aligned behind the strategy. The right conditions need to be secured to become successful in a changing business environment.

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