So much has been written and spoken about strategy:
About the importance of strategic planning; of scenario-sketching; of considering the contingencies; of looking at the consequences of strategies. Most of this is really good stuff and important. It could even be critical.
But the most neglected part of the process does not often appear, is seldom mentioned, and is most often neglected.
Without action, without implementation, without execution none of the above is worth anything other than perhaps a mention as a really good plan; maybe because there was a measure of inclusion in the process it had a beneficial motivational effect but the real essence, the real measure of good strategy, is to be found in the execution!
Of course, the devil is in the detail. And, of course, planning and paying attention to the detail are really important but the detail and the plans themselves do not have the capacity to excite those responsible for the delivery of the plans until and unless they make the plan, and the objectives inherent in them, their own.
For the people at the delivery end of the process the most important issue for them is to know what the destination is and what it means for them. In other words, “what exactly are we trying to achieve and what do we have to do to make it happen?”
At the leadership level we should do much more work on exciting people about the destination and learn to leave much more of the detail planning and the execution to those in the front lines who, in any event, know much more about the goings-on on the front line than those who live in the executive tower.
“What about co-ordination, and the integrity of the plan”, one can hear them cry! These are important and that is precisely why it is so critical to get the picture of the end point across with crystal clear communication.
That is what Winston Churchill was so good at. His ability to communicate what the end result needed to be and what each person could do to make that happen is probably unsurpassed in modern times. He, almost single-handedly, persuaded the Allied peoples that not only did they have the wherewithal to repulse Hitler’s hordes, but also to deliver them with a humiliating coup de grace.
Of course, leadership must spend time planning. It goes without saying that they have ultimate responsibility for determining strategy and direction, but they need to spend much more time translating these plans into compelling messages of action and end-results that all the organisation at all levels can and want to buy into. It is in this translation into action and execution that people will find hope, find encouragement, find excitement and give meaning to the work they do every day.
Written by : Sirocco Strategy Management
Sirocco was established to work with organisations to guide them in their strategising, and to ensure effective the implementation of their strategies. Implementation depends 100% on the buy-in and commitment of the people in the organisation.