Making it happen

In my experience many managers have a disdain for strategy and strategic planning: they think it’s too theoretical and not practical. But every successful company benefits from an effective strategy. It might have been developed through a formal process, or from trial and error; it could be something that happened through intuition or even plain old luck. But no matter where it came from a strategy WAS executed, whether managers were aware of it or not.

A company with an excellent strategy and, even more importantly, effective implementation has a high chance of success. But what about the company with a good strategy but poor execution? Or worse – what if it NEVER gets implemented? As a well respected former boss of mine was oft fond of saying: “it’s all about the execution.” Part of the execution is having a feedback mechanism. You need to know how things are going because, in my experience, things always change and even the best thought out plan is rarely implemented without at least some minor changes. Hence, be flexible, expect change and don’t be afraid to modify your plan as circumstances dictate.

We all know companies with exceptional strategies that succeed despite mediocre operations. And we’ve seen businesses which make or deliver good products or services but they fail because nobody wants them.

Great implementation simply cannot make up for poor strategic planning. Likewise, a great strategy is irrelevant if it’s not implemented. My view is that for a company’s business strategy to succeed it needs a good strategy that is well implemented and has an effective, inbuilt feedback mechanism.

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