Talking Strategy With Dr Julius Tapera
Continued from last week…
EFFECTIVE and efficient strategy implementation is necessary for superior organisational performance and maintaining competitive advantage.
It has, however, been observed that while organisations take time to craft strategies, strategy implementation is elusive for most organisations.
The estimates of the rate of failure among organisations that don’t successfully implement their strategies range between 50 to 90 percent.
Successful strategy implementation requires the integration of sustainable development processes in the implementation matrix. A number of frameworks and tools have been proposed for facilitating effective strategy implementation.
One such framework, which has been adopted by a number of organisations for successful strategy implementation is the Balanced Score Card (BSC), which brings together the various factors that are deemed to make strategy implementation more effective and groups these factors into four categories;
1) financial, 2) business processes, 3) customer relationship management and 4) learning and growth.
Strategic leadership is also very critical for effective strategy implementation. In recent years there has been the development of evidence-based practices (EBPs) to improve the effectiveness of strategy implementation.
Despite the development of these frameworks and identification of supporting tools and strategy implementation success factors, strategy implementation remains a challenge for most organisations.
Therefore, the development and continuous improvement of strategy implementation capabilities cannot be over-emphasised.
Organisations need to invest in training both management and employees, imparting strategy implementation capabilities so that they can significantly contribute towards effective strategy implementation.
Strategy monitoring and evaluation
The measurement of firm performance is an integral cog in transforming corporate strategy into tangible results. The effectiveness and efficiency of strategy implementation, therefore, has to be tracked and measured.
This entails putting in place an effective monitoring and evaluation system, which measures the extent to which set organisational goals have been achieved.
Strategy monitoring and evaluation provide for the outlining and assignment of roles and responsibilities for tracking progress and measurement of results, in both financial and non-financial terms, and the documentation and dissemination of information of such progress or the absence thereof.
It takes a learning approach that utilises achievements and problems for better decision-making and accountability.
Strategy monitoring entails a continuous and systematic process of gathering data on specific performance indicators to provide management indications on progress towards the achievement of objectives and effectiveness of resource utilisation.
Strategy evaluation is the systematic and objective assessment of how effective programmes, policies, procedures and processes are in achieving organisational objectives, with a view to ascertaining the relevance of implementation interventions in achieving the desired results.
Without effective monitoring and evaluation, there is no guarantee that the strategy implementation interventions are achieving the requisite results.
Strategic control is a management function that allows organisational leadership to regularly monitor all strategic management processes with a view to curbing possible deviations from the strategic path.
This works as a means through, which effective implementation of the formulated strategy is ascertained.
Hence there is close complementarity of this strategic function to strategic monitoring and evaluation.
Deviations from the formulated strategy during the implementation process should ideally be corrected through the strategic control function.
In recent times, strategic control has been broadened to incorporate the art of organisations developing unique strategic capabilities or identifying strategic positions in core markets for the purposes of creating competitive advantage.
Organisations have over the years developed the culture of establishing strategic control points which, when they gain dominance over, they leverage on for successful strategy implementation and superior organisational performance.
Strategic control points may take the form of one or various combinations of the following aspects of organisational operations; 1) distribution, 2) information (both hardware and software as well as the general information), 3) production/capacity, 4) raw material or input source control, 5) Intellectual Property (IP) or regulatory-based market access, and 6) key manufacturing components.
For example, a manufacturing organisation can create strategic control points through securing prime shelving space in leading outlets for a prominent display of its products.
In a technology-driven business environment, firms can create strategic points through the strategic use of information technology to harness, analyse and interpret information for competitive advantage.
Other firms may capitalise on their productive capacities to maximise economies of scale, leading to competitive pricing and domination of certain markets.
Where an organisation manufactures patented components that are critical in the manufacture of certain products by other companies, the IP becomes a strategic control point.
Dr Julius Tapera holds a PhD in Strategic Management and is the assistant to the Vice-Chancellor at Lupane State University. He is a strategic management consultant, motivational speaker and author. He can be contacted on mobile: +263773586037; Email: [email protected] or [email protected]