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10 Principles of Strategy through Execution

Abstract from http://www.strategy-business.com

Having a close link between strategy and execution is critically important.

Your strategy is your promise to deliver value: the things you do for customers, now and in the future, that no other company can do as well. Your execution occurs in the thousands of decisions made each day by people at every level of your company.

Quality, innovation, profitability, and growth all depend on having strategy and execution fit together seamlessly.

How do you accomplish this on a day-to-day basis? These 10 principles, derived from the experience of Strategy&, can help you avoid common pitfalls and accelerate your progress.

  1. Aim High – Don’t compromise your strategy or your execution. Set a lofty ambition for your strategy: not just financial success but sustained value creation, making a better world through your products, services, and presence. You need to persevere without lowering your standards, and the confidence to believe you can reach the goals soon enough.
  2. Build on Your Strenght – Your company has capabilities that set it apart, things you do better than anyone else. You can use them as a starting point to create greater success. Take an inventory of your most distinctive capabilities. The more knowledge you have about your own capabilities, the more opportunities you’ll have to build on your strengths.
  3. Be Ambidextrous –  The ability to manage strategy and execution with equal competence. In some companies, this is known as being “bilingual”: able to speak the language of the boardroom and the shop floor or software center with equal facility. If strategy through execution is to become a reality, people across the enterprise need to master ambidexterity. Lack of ambidexterity can be a key factor in chronic problems.
  4. Clarify Everyone’s Strategic Role – The people in your day-to-day operations — wherever they are, and on whatever level — are continually called upon to make decisions on behalf of the enterprise. If they are not motivated to deliver the strategy, the strategy won’t reach the customers.
  5. Align Structures to Strategy – Set up all your organizational structures, including your hierarchical design, decision rights, incentives, and metrics, so they reinforce your company’s identity: your value proposition and critical capabilities. If the structures of your company don’t support your strategy, consider removing them or changing them wholesale. Otherwise, they will just get in your way.
  6. Transcend Functional Barriers – Great capabilities always transcend functional barriers.  The stronger the cross-functional interplay and the more it is supported by the company’s culture, the more effective the promotion.
  7. Become a Fully Digital Enterprise –  Embrace digital technology’s potential to transform your company: to create fundamentally new experiences and interactions for your customers, your employees, and every other constituent. Until you use technology this way, many of your IT investments will be wasted; you won’t realize their potential in forming powerful new capabilities.
  8. Keep It Simple, Sometimes – Few products, a clear and simple value chain, and not too many projects on the schedule. Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way. In a large, mainstream company, execution is by nature complex. Capabilities are multifaceted. Different customers want different things.
  9. Shape Your Value Chain –  No company is an island. Every business relies on other companies in its network to help shepherd its products and services from one end of the value chain to the other.
  10. Cultivate Collective Mastery – The more bound your company is by internal rules and procedures for making and approving decisions, the slower it becomes. Collective mastery is a cultural attribute, often found in companies where strategy through execution is prevalent. It is the state you reach when communication is fluid, open, and constant and where everyone moves quickly and decisively. To operate this way, you have to be flexible. That doesn’t mean giving up your strategy; you still should pursue only opportunities with which you have the capabilities to win.

In the end, the 10 principles of strategy through execution will do more than help you achieve your business goals. They will also help build a new kind of culture, one in which people are aware of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

More details at – http://www.strategy-business.com by  Ivan de Souza, Richard Kauffeld, and David van Oss

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