Google “Strategic planning” and you will have close to half a billion hits — that’s a lot! It’s a hot topic, and it has been for many years. Strategic execution, not so sexy. However, one cannot work without the other. The two concepts are complementary.
Strategy fundamentals — the three levels of strategy
The highest level, corporate strategy, is about direction, where are we going? Expansion, retrenchment or stability?
The business strategy is more about how one wants to get there, and how one wants to do business. Cost leadership, differentiation or focus?
The market strategy more hands-on with focus on market development, product development or both.
If you are running a business you need to have well thought trough strategies on all three levels. Strategic planning is the first part of the job, then your strategies must be implemented and revised, and this is where many companies lack a good process.
Why strategy execution fails
- Unclear communication throughout the organisation — strategy is not only a concern for top management!
- Lack of focus and consistency — successful companies have a consistency in their strategic execution which is reflected in all strategic choices.
- Unrealistic strategies — do you really have the resources and skills to back your strategies?
- Weak HR function — missing the link between strategy and employee objectives.
- Lack of ability to follow-up the strategy execution.