STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES – PART TWO
Strategy implementation and the 4 remaining challenges.
Strategy implementation as well as change management is a very demanding process, which you need to be on top of every step of the way. All the time you’ve spent in advance coming up with the changes or the new strategy will be in vain if you are not able to execute it well. According to the well known 80/20 rule, the implementation part is the 80.
Depending on it’s size and complexity, it is the 80 % chance of failing or succeeding, the 80 % of the total effort with the project, it needs to reach 80 % of the employees and it will propably take 80 % of the time spent on the entire project.
Now, let’s get on with the last 4 stages/challenges of strategy implementation:
There will always be obstacles to the new vision. The FIFTH challenge is to remove the main obstacles to the new vision. The obstacles can come in many forms. For instance it can be routines or systems that no longer fits into the equation or it can be key personnel who is actively working against the changes.
The organization might not have the ability to remove all potential obstacles, but to eliminate the most critical ones will increase credibility and also stop the obstacles from growing to becoming impossible obstacles to overcome in the future.
Implementing a strategy or executing a change process can take a long time and the employees might need to see some results along the way to stay motivated. Thus the SIXTH challenge is to create smaller goals and targets along the way and celebrate the milestones as they are reached. We all need positivity and uplifting news to keep us going. Marking and celebrating milestones makes it easier for people to stay motivated for the long term, and you’ll also keep them from giving up or changing sides to the opposition.
The SEVENTH challenge is about not declaring completion too early. In that moment where you see the long desired results of the changes that have been made, it is easy to conclude that you’ve reached the overall goal and declare the process complete. In the cases where organizations have declared completion and success at a too early stage, usually the important changes that have been implemented are all disappeared again within a couple of years. As with almost everything else in working life, there are no short cuts.
The seventh challenge lead us to the EIGHTH challenge, which is to anchor the changes in the organization and the organizational culture. If the changes (the new routines, the new vision, etc.) get properly anchored, they will become the new normal way of doing things, which will make it more realistic that the changes stay for good even after the focus on the change process is gone.
The organization needs to ensure that the employees can identify with the changes and that they realize and recognize that the changes actually work and contribute in a positive manner.
This is what the employees will think of when they are suddenly faced with the choice of using their old routines versus the new way of thinking or executing. It is also important that the next generation of top management also acts in accordance with the new approach. A mistake in this regard from the management can easily lead to conflict that might overshadow the long change process and years of hard work.
And there you have it, the 8 pitfalls of strategy implementation. To be fair, each one of these could have been it’s own chapter in a book, and surely there are many more challenges to point out.
Which challenges have you encountered in your work with strategy implementation and change processes? Write a comment and let me know.