The ABC’s of Successful Strategy Implementation

a blackboard with the words, "Back to Basics" written in chalk

If you want to succeed at implementing your corporate strategy, try going back to basics, the ABC’s of strategy implementation.

Too many corporate strategies are born in the board room and eventually die there. Why? Because the strategy, though carefully crafted by the executives who know what needs to be done for the organization to succeed, was not translated effectively into language that others understood or supported. Or the business strategy was not communicated in a way that employees cared enough about in terms of urgency and importance. Or the strategy was defined only by the “what” and not the “how” or “why.”

Here is how to do it right…follow the strategy implementation ABC’s:

  • Articulate
    Your strategy must be compelling, concise and clearly stated. In our organizational alignment survey, we find that employees perceive that the organizational strategy is 50% less clear than their leaders believe. How can they implement a strategy they don’t understand? Articulate your strategy not for board room executives but for mid-level and frontline personnel so they can personally and professionally connect with it. The more specific and straightforward, the better. Explain what you intend to do so that all decisions and actions are guided by your strategic intent. You will know you are on the right track when the strategy is understood, believable and implementable in the eyes of your employees.
  • Broadcast
    Use every means at your disposal to clearly and consistently communicate the corporate strategy throughout the organization. Initially an address by the CEO will underline the importance of the strategy to the company’s future success. Then the strategy should be powerfully highlighted at team meetings, in the company newsletter, in regular emails, internal blogs and brown bag lunches. One announcement is not enough. As we have learned from successful change management, the shift of focus a strategy demands will not be accepted or understood until you hold open discussions, listen to and address questions and concerns, and reiterate the strategy often.
  • Cascade
    Give employees the information they need to make decisions and apply the strategy to their everyday jobs. Managers can help translate the elements of your strategy to their functional areas. They can work with their teams to cascade the high level plan to one that can be effectively executed on the more practical lower levels. This is where the “what” becomes the “how” and its effective implementation depends upon step-by-step planning, skilled coaching and transparent accountability.

High performing organizations understand that strategy alone won’t make the difference. It’s all in the execution of well understood, accepted, agreed-upon plans that support the company’s future growth.

Download Solving the Mystery of Successful Strategy Execution to Learn More

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