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From Strategy to Execution

The year is still young. A lot of organisations have started on a new plate, attempting to build on what they did last year. Strategy sessions are the order of the day as the year winds down and another takes off. However, it is one thing to develop your strategy and quite another to execute excellently to deliver results.

In fact, according to a global survey of 700 executives across a variety of industries conducted by Strategy &, the strategy consulting division of PwC, only 8% of company leaders were said to excel at both strategy and execution. (Harvard Business Review)

As business people, we must work our strategy to ensure we execute them well enough to deliver expected results.

So how do we start?

The first step is to put together your strategy. However, you cannot do that without a close look at previous performance. You must look back to previous years to see how you have performed. What were the areas in which you excelled? How well did you perform? What were your success factors? What were the areas you did not do so well? What were your challenges? Based on what happened previously as well as insights coming through from a SWOT analysis of the business, you can then decide what you want to achieve in the current year. Depending on how big your operations are, your strategy must begin with the desire to achieve something major- growth, expansion, maintain current position in the market, expand operations, develop new areas of operation- ideally you must be working to achieve something for the year.

Let us look at a specific scenario. Company XYZ. They have 5 products in the retail market. They typically have wholesale dealers who buy bulk and take to the market. They don’t deal directly with retailers or consumers. However they market their 5 products to create awareness for them. So at the end of year 20XX, they come together for a strategy session.

Their discussions would first be to look at what happened in year 20XX. How did each of the products do in the market? Did they meet the expected revenue? Let’s say three of the products did but two did not. What were the factors that helped the three that did well? What were the challenges for the two that did not? What were the costs involved in delivering the revenue. Where they lower or higher than expected? What feedback did you get from the wholesale dealers? What is the buzz from the market? What can be fixed to ensure the two that did not do well can do better? What can be done to ensure the three that did well do even better? These are the type of questions that must be answered in the strategy session to come up with the strategy for the next year.

The Strategy document would contain the main objective for the year. In this case, it would be growth in market share from where it is by a certain percentage.

The strategy to achieve that overall objective could be

  1. Introduce an e commerce channel
  2. Grow the no of wholesale dealers
  3. Penetrate new regions

The next step is to break down the strategy. Once strategy has been agreed, it would be further broken down to achievable smaller tasks that would ensure the strategy is achievable.

For Company XYZ, what are the smaller activities that they must perform to ensure that the e commerce channel comes on board? If is it not actionable, it will never get done. The opportunity that the organization has seen will never materialise and the expected revenue will never happen. So the company will need to create the e store, put in place a customer support team, e payment channels, logistics to ensure the goods get to customers, and so on.

Then lastly begin to do the nitty gritty stuff to get things done. Assign tasks to people and give timelines for them to get done. Hold people accountable for getting things done. When people do things well, recognise and reward them. As they begin to execute, then you will see that strategy is no longer just a document but activity that directly impacts the bottom line.

What I have done in this article is to give top line steps to move from strategy to execution. Of course, we must be sure that as we put the strategy in place that we have the capacity to execute. For instance, to have an e channel requires, technology, manpower and other resources the organization may not have. So it is essential to think through the process so that you do not have a strategy document that is not executable because the resources to execute are simply not there.

Also remember that it is people who get things done. So they must understand what the overall objective and strategy really is. They must be carried along as decisions are being made otherwise the strategy is dead on arrival. That means the entire organisational culture must be such that it encourages, communicates the vision effectively to motivates action by employees. It is important to communicate and get feedback and buy-in from the people who will do the execution of these strategies.

All in all, a business does not succeed with good strategies but effectively and excellently executed strategies. If not executed, a strategy amounts to nothing. To impact bottom line, it must come alive and be acted upon. That is what business is all about, everyday activity, guided by an objective and strategies to ensure revenue comes insustainably.

Chinwe Kalu

CEO, Customer Passion Point Limited

Chinwe.kalu@cppl.com.ng

+234 803 201 2458

 

Comment (1)

  1. ike kalu February 6, 2019 at 5:20 am

    This is a beautiful write up by Chinwe Kalu. I recommend it

Comments are closed.

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