Managing strategy and sustaining a strategic management system is a multi-faceted effort and includes elements as diverse as: a) how well the organization is maintaining its focus on its strategic vision, plans and initiatives; b) whether or not people, systems, and communication activities are in place to maintain the momentum of desired change; c) establishing a sense of urgency in the workforce; d) aligning reward and recognition systems with strategy to motivate employees to do the right things; e) properly defining roles and responsibilities for “champions” to keep the workforce informed about the strategic priorities and desired levels of performance; f) organizing an office of strategic management or dispersing those responsibilities elsewhere for the deployment of strategy and performance reporting; and g) instilling a culture in the organization where “strategy is everyone’s job”.1
While one would think that after investing the resources needed to effectively formulate strategy leaders would do the same to effectively implement strategy, often that is just not the case. And many times, strategy execution failure is the result of a simple lack of discipline and common business sense.
Figure 1 illustrates simple routinely scheduled strategy progress and review sessions throughout the business year that can provide organizations with intelligence to act to sustain strategic management.
Figure 1: Different Types of Review Meetings Needed to Sustain Strategy
This simple meeting schedule might look like common sense, but it is surprising how many organizations lack this simple discipline. Nohria, Joyce and Robertson (2003) remind us that new management ideas heat up and fizzle out. So how can you tell which ones are critical for outperforming your competitors and sustaining your strategy? Nohria, Joyce and Robertson (2003) research revealed that most techniques have no direct impact on superior business performance. But what did was mastery of business basics! Hopefully maintaining this basic schedule will keep your team on track.
Nohria, Joyce and Robertson (2003) also posit that to sustain superior (strategy) performance, you must excel at four primary management practices—strategy, execution, culture, and structure—and any two of four secondary practices—talent, leadership, innovation, and mergers and partnerships. The key to this “4 + 2 formula” is not which technique you choose within each practice, but how well and consistently you stick with it. There’s no recipe to follow.2 But maintaining a regular dialog organized around these topics will help your organization continue to strive for excellence.
If you’d like to learn more about strategy management, consider our Balanced Scorecard Professional Certification Program or our strategy execution solutions. Or simply contact us to speak with our consulting specialists in strategy development, implementation, and execution.
- Balanced Scorecard Institute (2018). The Strategic Management Maturity Model™. Cary, NC.
- Nohria, Nitin; Joyce, William and Robertson, Bruce. (2003, July). Adapted from: What Really Works? – Harvard Business Review.
Joe is the Senior Vice President, as well as a senior consulting associate, who has 40+ years of extensive experience in business structuring, strategy formulation/implementation including balanced scorecard use, change management, and the design/execution of innovative operational business models/solutions in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors with first-line and executive level management positions.