How do you implement a new strategy successfully??
Dhe world around us is changing rapidly. And the world keeps changing. Continuously. This places new demands on leadership. Leadership in which you truly add value to the organization and the environment in which you operate. Value-creating leadership. It is no longer just about economic gain, but also about achieving ecologically sound and socially just results. Complex? I guess so. This can only succeed if you work together with people and organisations with diverse views. How do you make this work? The route to successful change includes four phases. In this blog more about phase
Phase 3: Realization
In phase 1 you looked at the context of your organization. What does the environment look like? What changes? How does competition, society and legislation develop? And what does that require from the environment of your organisation? In phase 2 (Forming) you made a vision and strategy for your own organisation. This phase is the most essential, because it is where you make or break the implementation. Few organizations achieve proper implementation. This is because organisations usually spend a lot of time on strategy and too little on execution: 80-20. Moreover, organisations often do not make targeted choices; they want too much. The pitfalls here are that the collaboration is ineffective because people are not sufficiently involved. Another risk is that the gap between old and new work processes is not bridged.
So the question is: how do you achieve a good realisation of the strategy? This is the focus of phase 3 of the route to success: Achieving. In this phase, you see to it that the agreements made between the parties are complied with. The calculators and connectors make way for the implementers. After all, implementing a strategy requires different capabilities. It requires you to be very focused in working towards results. That you are transparent about your results. And that you gather a team around you with people who dare to bear co-responsibility for their own actions and for the results achieved. And also for what is not going well.
Hard and soft approach
In this phase of Achievement, it is essential that a hard and a soft approach go hand in hand. Because on the one hand you have to deal with the hard components of the strategy: the intended goals and results and the activities needed to achieve them. But you can only implement this strategy successfully if you also have an eye for the soft components of the culture. Like values and behavior.
Execute, Monitor Process, Control
This third phase Achieve includes three steps: Execute, Monitor Process, Control:
Value-creating leadership in this phase is characterized by organizing ownership and execution power among the organizations, teams and people involved. Everyone’s role is clear, as are the associated accountable responsibilities. The process is monitored and controlled. An important ‘soft’ point of attention is maintaining support among all parties. In short, this phase calls for a decisive and unifying leadership style.
Make the team responsible
The effectiveness of the implementation lies in the cooperation within that team. And is therefore not dependent on one leader. Leadership is not in one person. The degree of leadership is determined by the interaction within a team or network. It’s about collaborative partners who share a common goal and are willing to make sacrifices to create multiple value. So you get the result together. In general, we don’t like to make others partly responsible. But the benefits are great, as long as you do it right. Whatever you call it – Lean, Scrum or Agile – It’s about working from transparency and processes and mapping results. You work on this continuously as a team, in short communication loops. Read more about the ideas of Remco Selmer (Semco)
Important: Make the responsibilities of each team member and the team as clear and concrete as possible. And have an eye for both the upstream and downstream factors.
20% strategy, 80% execution
Successful organizations spend 20% of their time on strategy, and 80% on execution. A fast and effective implementation determines the success of a company. A strategy is nice, but ultimately you have to bring about a cultural change and overcome resistance. And if you’re not careful, the (old) culture is stronger than the strategy. Whereas today’s society demands that you quickly develop products and services. Are you acting too slow? Then you’ll be overtaken left and right.
Make very specific choices
Make choices based on your strategy Advice: start with a maximum of three projects. Projects that are expected to yield the highest returns with the least possible effort: quick wins. And if one fails, you move on to the other two projects. Many organizations, especially in the public sector, are tackling a laundry list of projects simultaneously. They are doomed to fail.
Delegate clear roles and responsibilities.
The leader in this phase is responsible for implementation. This leader:
- communicates an attractive vision;
- radiates confidence about the outcome(s) to be achieved;
- makes the necessary resources and frameworks available;
- turn diversity into effective collaboration;
- Dare to make difficult and painful decisions.
Employ a people-oriented leadership style
Good people skills are indispensable for a successful implementation. Because a good strategy is nice on paper, but ultimately you have to do with the culture of your organization and with people. Good people skills get people moving and get things done. So coach and mentor people. Build personal relationships and give people genuine attention. And make sure they are proud of themselves, their work and the organization.
Set achievable goals
You can’t change the whole world with a change programme. Be realistic and set achievable goals. And make these goals very concrete: what exactly are we going to do? The implementation plan describes the activities, processes and resources required to realise the strategy. The plan forces management to work out the strategy in detail. And the plan assigns clear responsibilities for achieving the goals and activities. This provides clarity and makes it possible to make adjustments.
Include people in your strategy
A strategy can only be implemented if it is clear. So people need to understand why they do what they do. You achieve this by linking a task to the strategy. Because when people understand why a task is necessary, it increases commitment. So: communicate the strategy in a simple way. Listen sincerely to feedback and do something with it.
Invest in training and education
It is of course important that people have and/or develop the right skills. So invest in training and development. This can also be individual coaching. with the aim of increasing knowledge, skills and self-confidence. Ultimately, of course, this contributes to better performance.
Monitoring the process
It is important that you continuously keep the members of the organisation informed about the results achieved and the quick wins. Not just numbers, but for example also the new house style. Or a presentation of the new housing. This all contributes to trust, motivation and commitment. When they see that their efforts really have an effect, it is very stimulating. People see that things are really changing. And that, in turn, makes for better performance. And in a time of crisis, these visible results help to restore confidence in both the organisation and its strategy.
In too many organizations, strategy implementation fails because of an authoritarian management style and strict rules and procedures. Ultimately this leads to less commitment, passive behaviour, uncertainty, less motivation and poorer performance.
The implementation of the strategy is only successful in a decentralized organizational structure that is in line with the strategy. Give people clear responsibilities and authority. Because that makes them feel more committed and motivated. Be sure to make use of people’s specialist knowledge. And decision-making is ideally fast and efficient.
Challenge people to come up with their own solution
If you work together in an organisational network and make people in this network jointly responsible, sooner or later bottlenecks will arise. That’s okay. On one condition: challenge the people concerned to come up with their own solution. Ask this person: briefly describe the problem, suggest three possible solutions and advise me on the best solution. Then you force people to think for themselves. Various examples show that this working method leads to a decrease in complaints and unnecessary meetings. After all, the team just takes care of itself.
So what? Make the translation
The Achieve phase is completed when the strategy is actually implemented. So what? Then it’s time to secure the new way of working and to keep an eye out for new developments. You do that in phase 4: Renew.
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