To define strategy execution, we must first agree what ‘strategy’ means within a business context. the dictionary defines this as "a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty." To develop such a plan, organizations must do five things, which we have called strategic planning:
- 1. Determine where the market is heading; the forces at play; and the position they want to take within that market at some future point. this is translated into corporate goals to be achieved, and the values to be adopted, which together form the way in which the organization wishes to be viewed.
- 2. Decide on the products/services that it will need to deliver to achieve those future goals. these should be in line with the organization’s values and the perceived future business environment.
- 3. assess changes that will be required to the organization’s current internal business processes to deliver those products and services. this should be in a way that gives the business a competitive advantage.
- 4. Plan out how those changes are to be implemented, over what timescales, and the resources/funding that will be required.
- 5. Assess the impact of uncertainty and how the organization would respond. For example, running scenarios using different market forecasts; or that simulate substantial rises in energy prices.
All of the above activities are conducted through a joined-up management process that involves relevant parts of the organization, working together for a common purpose. if any of the five areas shown above are left out, then the plan is incomplete and its execution will almost certainly fail to deliver expected benefits. Once developed, the following activities are required to guide and monitor implementation, which we have called strategy execution:
- 1. Monitoring the progress of change ( i.e. whether the strategic initiatives agreed are being implemented as planned ).
- 2. Assessing the impact that change is having on projected corporate goals.
- 3. Assessing the resources being used and what will be needed for the plan to continue.
- 4. Making adjustments that are required to keep the plan on track. ( i.e. re-allocating resources if more are needed; replacing initiatives that are not working; re-planning activities due to an unforeseen competitive threat arising.)
For a strategy execution system to fulfill the purpose of both planning and monitoring execution, it requires a range of capabilities that are typically not found in one system, as defined by gartner’s cPm application categories. These capabilities need to be fully integrated so that they work together as a single system where resources and workload are optimized to deliver the best result. and they need to be delivered as part of an enterprise wide management solution that brings the organization together with a focus on strategy and its execution.