Frustrated with failed corporate strategies? Learn about six ways leaders can help successfully execute long-term strategic objectives in any organization.
Planning organizational strategies is often easier than executing them. According to a recent poll, 60% of those in charge of corporate strategies stated that execution is too often a slow process. Implementing strategic plans across an organization can be difficult when there is a disconnect between ideas, goals, and functions. However, it is possible for leaders to successfully implement strategies as long as they find a way to merge everyday functions with ideas and goals.
Common obstacles to implementing strategies include focusing too much on short-term objectives, accomplishing short-term tasks, and failing to take on a strategic, long-term perspective. Focusing on operations and issues that arise from operations, in addition to a low tolerance for failure, can also lead to problems with executing strategies. Fortunately, there are methods that middle managers and operational leaders can embrace to help them successfully implement strategic objectives.
Jay Wong from mining tech solutions company Xyber Solutions shares some valuable leadership tips.
- Define Responsibilities and Expectations: The strategy and its objectives should be explained and outlined to all employees. Leaders should also help explain how the strategy’s objectives will fit into the organization’s mission and vision. Employees need to understand how their roles and responsibilities will help fulfill the strategy’s objectives. The desired or expected results should also be communicated, as well as the projected timeline for accomplishing those results.
- Include Financial Projections and Objectives: When planning out an organization’s strategy, ask how that strategy will impact costs and budgets. Ask and answer questions such as what resources will be needed and for how long? Additional questions to ask include whether resources need to be acquired or outsourced.
- Determine Strengths and Weaknesses: Prior to implementation, determine the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. Are there certain functions and capabilities that are necessary to successfully execute the strategy? Is the organization deficient or strong in these functions and capabilities? Is it possible that additional training will be sufficient, should a consultant be brought on board, or should the strategy’s objectives be modified to match the organization’s strengths?
- Focus on Growth and Objectives: The objectives within the strategy should be measurable and realistic. The objectives should also focus on the organization’s long-term growth. Prioritize what is most important to the organization, where leaders want the organization to be in a few years, and which goals can be temporarily sidelined.
- Document the Plan: Writing out the plan, with its timelines, objectives, resource allocations, and assigned responsibilities makes the strategy more concrete. Documentation can serve as a reference and a reminder of what needs to be accomplished and when.
- Maintain Flexibility: As the execution of a strategy gets underway, it is important to be able to periodically assess progress. A good assessment includes determining what is working, what is not working, and why. If something is not working, leaders should be able to address problems. Sometimes making slight modifications to the execution process is helpful, whereas other times it is best to abandon certain activities. Maintaining an open mind can be just as critical, as sometimes ideas and assumptions do not always match reality. Being able to let go of preconceived assumptions and reach new conclusions based on the environment can help leaders overcome obstacles.