In last section we concluded that Execution as a function of Strategy is critical else it remains only on a piece of paper or in minds of a very few people. To implement strategy, execution in all actions is necessary to turn strategy into success. It appears simple but can be tricky to understand.
Any change or exchange has an effect on vast area of functions including several processes and interventions which often are overlapping. These overlaps often have created blurred borders between functions and roles and they cannot be clearly distinguished. So change process influences all the connected or overlapping processes. So when the change process has to be designed, all the subsets and overlapping processes have to be considered and included so that required results can be achieved.
In execution of strategy everyone has to be involved from top to bottom. Strong communicating and coaching skills are required by those who are in leadership roles of execution. There must be a clear form of communication at all levels – number of times, the purpose of change, reasons of changed strategy and desired results must be unmistakably spelt out. Execution of changed strategy needs huge perseverance, patience and strong focus. It is not a short time affair. Milestones are usually built for execution of strategy and review of execution therefore must also be done. But unless the strategy is executed till the end the job is incomplete. At times, it may take several years. While it needs long term thinking to devise milestones upon which execution success can be evaluated, it also needs short term focus to reach each milestone while executing and evaluating whether reaching at each milestone has delivered desired outcomes.
Execution evolves at all levels – Top to Bottom
For strong execution, strong strategy is also required else strong results will either be delayed or not come. For execution to remain as possibly flawless it is suggested that the existing culture be first evaluated and analysed to arrive at the changes in culture required. Focus should be on changing the culture for highest good. There will be formal power structures and informal power positions. Among these formal and informal power structures, it must be examined who may remain positive for the change and who may digress or create hurdles. Those most likely to remain positive have to be brought in the system of changing things and others have to be aptly dealt with. Design of processes need to showcase discern and value. While designing the change process, initiatives will have to build strong links between the existing processes that will continue to exist as it is the same that is undergoing the change. This should result in smooth amalgamation of existing processes (which continue to exist) vis-à-vis new process.
People will have to be nurtured with skills apt for the changed process. If there is a gap between implementing the change and acquiring or training people with required set of skills, most often the change in strategy execution process fails. Many a times ‘People Skills’ is the neglected side of a change process that rather must go hand in hand while the change in execution takes place.
“ For strong execution, strong strategy is also required else strong results will either be delayed or not come. ”
Execution process should have seamless integration between organisational and individual performance. KPIs of individuals must be developed in a manner that they get aligned in the direction of the overall change. Clear cut responsibilities and accountabilities must be put down. Remarkable performers must be identified, rewarded and made heroes. Measurement metrics must be developed that must be well aligned with overall objectives for progress to be measured and evaluated.
Wrapping the discussion, as per my personal experience I would further like to suggest, while treading the execution path, never focus at all the things at the same time. Tasks should have a strong timing sequence, that is, one thing must take place before the other and order is important. Sometimes even precedence is extremely imperative. Strategy Execution is critical but the change has to evolve and mature and for the new change to become a part of the cultural fabric, time investment is crucial else the change will be reversible or temporary resulting in redundancy of efforts.