Keys to Good Strategy Execution
Every organization’s basic need for success is strategizing. Mostly, each organization has its distinct strategy which is not disclosed to other organizations due to competition. However, every organization has one uniform strategy that needs to be implemented for the foundation building of the organization – corporate culture and leadership; the basic requirements of an organization.
Corporate culture is a set of core values, beliefs, traditions, operational styles, work ethics, employee behaviour and basic business principles on which the business is based. All the activities and procedures taking place in the organizations are a reflection of the organization’s corporate culture (Knox, Butzel; N.D). Only if an employee is able to adapt to the corporate culture can he work in accordance to the requirements of the organization; in fact, the corporate culture is a guideline for them.
There are two types of cultures – adaptive and unadaptive. Adaptive cultures are suitable for ever-changing environments where strategies and structures might be needed to change due to changing external stimuli such as markets, legal-political, international pressures, economical conditions, social fulfillments or simply customers, competitors and suppliers. Adaptive cultures are further divided into visible and invisible cultures. Some parts of the culture are visible, such as slogans, symbols, artifacts, dress, and office layout and even ceremonies – things that an outsider can observe and use for judging the organization’s culture. The other division is the invisible culture which includes the beliefs and values that are embedded within the system and employees’ heads; this part of the culture helps them take decisions based on the organization’s culture. On the other hand, unadaptive cultures are ones in which change is rarely brought about and also with great difficulty due to the rigidity of the organization’s practices and traditions. This unadaptive culture is usually an unhealthy one which is further divided into cultures that are hierarchy and politics based, that show resistance to change, those that do not like opening up to the external environment and are inwardly attentive, and lastly are unethical and driven by illegal factors such as greed. Such culturally structured businesses usually do not have a high quality performance and do not facilitate strategy execution. However, even if the culture is adaptive, once an organization’s corporate culture is established, it is difficult to bring about changes in it. This is because everything in the organization is developed and designed in accordance with the culture; bringing a major change in every petty thing is a very costly act.
Corporate culture and strategy come together as a ‘culture-strategy fit’ – the tighter this bond is, the more the culture helps in designing the strategy execution by directing and leading the behavior and practices of the employee into the success direction. Therefore, multinational corporations should formulate a culture that fits within all countries so that its strategy execution is possible all around the globe (Bono, 2007). However, every organization needs to keep a check on its strategy execution and observe how well the organization is doing based on the culture-strategy fit. There are numerous ways to keep a check, such as profitability ratios, sales units, sales revenue, market share etc. One unique and personalized way is to use the method of ‘Management By Walking Around (MBWA)’ – the manager wanders around in the office, observes, talks to various employees for feedback and based on all his collection judges whether the strategy is a success or failure.
The second prerequisite of a successful organization is ‘leadership’; a leader is somebody who manages the entire organization and its operations, controls all activities, monitors each act and most importantly, motivates other employees to work for the progression of the organization. Employees tend to slack off and become uninterested in their job; it is the task of this leader to exhibit his leadership skills and talk these employees into working hard and become motivated. One of the most important jobs of the leader, who mostly is the manager, is to plan out a mission and then guiding and directing it to success (Thompson, Strickland, Gamble; 2008). If a leader completes the five following tasks, he is sure to ensure that proper and good strategy execution is taking place: keeping each and everything under observation, monitoring each process and then understanding the factors obstructing strategy execution; putting a positive pressure on the employees that charges them up to work proficiently and producing results; recognizing the core competencies of the business and then working on those to make them stronger and formulating them in a manner to make them the organization’s competitive advantage; keeping an eye on the social aspect, ensuring that the organization has a positive public image, and guaranteeing that the organization is fulfilling its corporate social responsibility; lastly, rectifying any errors to improve the strategy execution to accomplish goals and produce targeted results.
Although, every organization has a well thought out strategy based on their product and market; but leadership and corporate culture are two factors without which the organization cannot survive. Therefore, it is crucial for every manager to first design a steady and unique corporate culture and then exhibit their leadership skills to implement the culture and every activity in accordance with it to drive the organization to new heights.
Arthur A. Jr. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III & John E Gamble (2008), Crafting and Executing Strategy, 16th edition, McGraw-Hill
Bono, Edward de (2007), Creativity – Corporate Culture
Knox, Deborah L. and Butzel, Sandra S. (N.D), What is Corporate Culture? Life Work Transitions.com: Putting Your Spirit Online