“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” —Sun Tsu
There’s an old saying: What gets measured, gets done. So when your strategy is to be achieved, its progress must be measured and monitored, otherwise it’s DOA.
In a recent article by Dr. Arnoud Van Der Maas, organizations need to build a strategy control system that measures the performance of the strategy and its execution. The goal of the strategy control system is to ensure effective action throughout the organization.
Dr. Van Der Maas has offered 3 ways to make sure you are in control of the strategic aspects of your company:
MONITORING THE EXECUTION
During strategy execution, it is crucial to monitor progress towards business plan objectives so as to assess whether adjustments need to be made. The easiest way to build this monitoring platform is for you to translate your strategic goals into operational goals with performance indicators. Monitoring these performance indicators helps determine whether the business plan objectives are being achieved and creates feedback about the performance of the strategy and its execution. With clarity on strategy execution performance, you’ll be able to make adjustments accordingly. For example, most leaders use routine progress reports to monitor a specific part of the business’ execution. These reports/presentations are written by team members responsible for the implementation of the strategy. Another way to monitor your execution is to use a system that creates dashboards of the performance indicators thereby allowing executives and managers to get a quick overview of the progress and key issues of the strategy and its execution.
CONTROLLING THE EXECUTION
Not only must the execution of a strategy be monitored, it must be controlled as well. A great way to makes sure you are controlling the execution is to assign clear responsibilities and have direct sightlines to these accountabilities. With clear sightlines over responsibilities and accountabilities, a team leader can identify which indicators are at risk and which team members are creating the risk. Armed with this insight, the leader can then assign additional tasks, assistance or resources to the responsible party so as to ensure that the strategic target is obtained.
CONTROLLING THE STRATEGY
When results do not meet objectives, it’s prudent for leaders to assess whether to adapt the strategy or its execution plan because it’s entirely possible that the expected results from the business plan are unrealistic or attainable because of the strategy and not the execution. In other words, your team could be missing their KPIs because the strategy OR the execution plan is flawed. Both must be examined because even the best strategy will achieve poor results when execution is flawed and vice versa. Accordingly, your operating teams must thoroughly investigate the root causes of the poor performance. Once you have investigated, you can then decide whether to adapt the strategy with the new information or to develop a new strategy.
Executing a strategy or transforming an organization can be a difficult and time-consuming process. The first step is to make sure that you are in control of your company’s strategies and that you are constantly monitoring and controlling its execution so as to ensure that the performance progress.
Dr. Arnoud Van Der Mass is a renowned Strategy Management expert from Europe. Dr. Maas is a consultant, researcher, speaker and author in Strategy Execution. He is the Owner of Strataegos Consulting - a consultancy that specializes in strategy execution. For a copy of the full article click here