Successful strategy implementation: a manager's guide
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Companies can achieve goals when they have a strategy to implement their plans and decisions. A correctly implemented strategy shows the efficiency and effectiveness of a company's management. Learning how to implement strategies properly can help you improve your own management approach. In this article, we discuss what strategy implementation is, factors that support it and steps you can take to use it.
What is strategy implementation?
Strategy implementation is the progression of strategic plans into action to achieve organisational goals. It's a gradual process of integrating new operations into an organisation's structure for growth and development. As a leader or manager, it's important to know that achieving company goals doesn't end with strategising and documenting plans or presentations, but also implementing them successfully.
Factors that support the implementation of strategies
Before implementing a strategy, it's essential to consider factors such as the employees, available resources, organisational structure, culture and the systems that the organisation uses. Here are some factors that contribute to implementing strategic plans:
Skilled employees are accountable and can deliver effective results when a manager assigns them responsibilities. They have the required skills and competencies that can contribute to company goals. When moving from the planning process to execution, it's helpful to identify these employees and provide specific training to facilitate the execution process. Also, if the company plans to hire more employees, consider doing so before progressing into the implementation stage.
Another factor is gaining the necessary resources, which can include funding or time, for the implementation process. Funding is essential when the plan includes introducing a new system, such as new software or applications. Sufficient funding enables the purchase of the software, installation and training of employees to use it. Unexpected costs may arise, but with proper budgeting for different circumstances, you can resolve them quickly.
A proper organisational structure ensures a faster decision-making process, better staff collaboration, stronger communication and improved operating efficiency. During strategy execution, it helps staff to clearly understand their responsibilities towards implementing the strategy. They can also communicate with the assigned project manager to help answer questions and resolve concerns.
A beneficial system for strategy implementation helps a team guide their priorities and encourages accountability. Setting up the processes, procedures and routine ensures that everyone involved produces effective results. It also helps to measure the success of plans by providing a way to track small goals that contribute to the overall objective.
An organisational culture is a management tool that helps staff understand and share the company's values, beliefs and priorities. When staff are aware of it, they may feel more encouraged to carry out their responsibilities and focus on productivity. Strategies generally align with the culture of a company, so implementing them can help staff better understand how their work contribute's to an organisation's mission.
How to implement strategies
These are the steps you can take to implement business strategies:
1. Advocate for plan implementation
The plan comes before the execution, so after making plans and communicating with decision-makers, the next step is to talk about it. This helps team members remember the plan and encourages them to work towards implementation. You can talk about the plan and how those directly involved can progress towards the goals. Let the staff know how important it is to implement the program and how they can contribute. This also provides an opportunity for team members to contribute feedback.
2. Set goals
As a manager, the goals you set can help you and the staff track and monitor the strategy's progress. It also makes it easier for teams to know their specific responsibilities. It's important to set goals that are measurable and attainable to keep team members motivated. By setting measurable goals using key performance indicators, managers and their team members can determine if they've successfully implemented strategic plans. To set goals for implementing business strategies, consider using the SMART process. Here's what the acronym means:
Specific: The specific part of the acronym means to focus on the exact goals you want to achieve during the implementation. These indicators help determine whether the execution was successful.
Measurable: This means setting a metric that measures the success of the strategy execution. It could be the increase in something like the company's revenue or the decrease in its turnover rate.
Achievable: When a goal is achievable, that means setting metrics that a team is more likely to attain. It means the goals are not too far out of reach, but they're also not below standard.
Relevant: If a goal's relevant, it aligns with a company's mission. This means that it matches the organisation's values and the resources a team has.
Time-bound: This ensures there's an end date for completing the implementation. It helps teams focus on what's important.
3. Align budget with strategy outcome
Having the proper budget is necessary when implementing strategies. Managers can allocate resources to departments and professionals who can help achieve strategic goals. Effective allocation begins with having a clear understanding of these goals. Then, managers can evaluate what resources to use and which might have the most significant impact on your strategy.
4. Determine roles
One of the managers' responsibilities is identifying the decision-makers and other staff who assist in the implementation process. It's helpful to create a structure to identify the implementation leaders and their responsibilities. A RACI matrix can help in assigning and clarifying roles. The chart, which stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed, can help managers identify and set roles and responsibilities, milestones and deliverables. It's especially beneficial for complex projects because it helps in decision-making and successful plan execution.
Provide a clear outline of what each individual is responsible for achieving. Holding regular meetings can also ensure everyone knows and understands their roles. After properly explaining strategy details, managers can let team members take initiative in their roles.
5. Plan execution
After the first week of carrying out their responsibilities, managers may create a progress report for the team to see their strengths and identify which areas they can improve. You can set up regular meetings with the leadership team and others involved to discuss progress and identify concerns. These meetings can help maintain focus and identify issues during execution so you can find solutions.
As a manager, you can stay available to answer questions and address challenges employees may face in implementing or adapting to change. Provide automation tools and coaching when necessary. This shows team members how much you care for the implementation, motivating them to perform well.
6. Supply resources
The availability of resources for the plan makes execution possible. For example, some plans might require new software, and others might require the purchase of essential products or training programs for employees. Identifying the resources needed and making them available is crucial for implementing new systems.
7. Resolve change management issues
Some employees might find it challenging to adapt to the change that comes with a new strategy. Possible solutions include providing adequate training for employees to expand their skills and adapt to changes, keeping communication open so they can discuss challenges they're facing and helping staff feel valued. Overall, inform employees of their roles, expected outcomes and result evaluation.
8. Ensure transparency
It's important to ensure that everyone involved with a strategy clearly understands how the implementation works. Employees feel appreciated and valued when the management outlines their roles and provides information on how a project is progressing. This can encourage trust, which may improve workplace morale.
Tips for implementing a strategy
Here are some tips you can consider when implementing a strategy:
Develop policies: Managers can consider developing policies to guide employees on expected behaviours during the process. For example, they may create policies on communication or provide feedback on staff performance.
Create a reward system: Creating reward structures can encourage employees to be productive and achieve better results. Rewards can be benefits like a bonus or public recognition for accomplishments.
Review the strategy: Regularly reviewing the strategy helps to establish its relevance to the company. If it no longer serves the purpose it used to, then it might be time to develop new ones.
Encourage communication: Communication during the process helps get key stakeholders and employees to understand the process and follow it. Tools, such as messaging platforms or project management software, can facilitate communication during the process.
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