Parker Lee’s blog post, 5 Factors to Ensure Successful Business Strategy Implementation, was recently featured on Rescue A CEO. Rescue A CEO is a niche blog site that helps entrepreneurs get tasks and projects completed. Rescue A CEO is a member of CEO Blog Nation.
Here is the beginning of the post:
It is now three times in recent memory that I have heard the same lament from clients:
“You won’t believe how much we just spent on XYZ consulting. They made suggestions on what strategy we need to implement and delivered a 350-page PowerPoint presentation. Some of the thoughts were insightful, but none of the consultants suggested “how” we could accomplish the changes that were recommended.”
Have you had that experience? A high-powered consultancy is brought in but their insights provided no detail on how to solve your organizational issues.
This conundrum is analogous to the fable of “belling the cat.” A group of mice are in a heated debate about plans to quash the troublesome cat. One mouse proposes the strategy of placing a bell around the cat’s neck, so that they are warned of its approach. The other mice applaud the plan, until one mouse asks who will place the bell on the cat. All of them make excuses.
The tale is used to teach the wisdom of assessing a plan, the fundamental difference between ideas and their feasibility and how this affects the usefulness of a given strategic plan. I have no intent to oversimplify the complex approach to optimal strategy implementation. Each company has a unique culture, capability, history, technology and systems. That said, there are five guiding factors to ensure success in implementing your business strategy:
- Active sponsorship
Clear authority and credibility is needed for successful implementation of strategy. Senior leaders must be present to demonstrate their own and the organization’s commitment to the strategy.
There is a large volume of knowledge supporting this idea. One that comes to mind is from Prosci’s benchmarking study from 2009. Key findings illustrate the importance of active sponsorship from senior leaders when implementing a new strategy:
- When asked to identify the top contributor to success of their change, participants identified active and visible executive sponsorship as number one on the list.
- Ineffective change sponsorship from senior leaders was identified as the biggest obstacle to success.
- There are two people in the organization employees want to hear from regarding a strategic change: the person they report to and a leader at the top.
Thus, leaders are critical at the macro-level and play a key role in supporting the application of strategy and in communicating directly to employees why the strategy is needed.