In essence, successful strategy is about making choices – what to do and what not to do.

It is actually that simple. But in reality, both the art of making the right strategic choices and the hard work of transforming the choices into real business impact are often unsuccessful endeavours. Research shows that more than 70% of strategies fail to achieve their desired objectives. The successful strategy are truly disappointing, and it seems like the issue is rather predictable. Why are we not capable of improving the quite unimpressive batting average? Why is it that we seem to be falling into the same execution traps over and over again? Obviously, the answer is not simple, and many underlying causes contribute to the difficulties of bringing strategy to life.

successful strategy,Enrique Luis Sardi, Enrique Sardi, sardi Innovation, Sardi Milan tornos willemin macodelBelow is only a selection of Implement Consulting Groups new viewpoints on change – you can download the article here.

Defining the strategy implementation model
In order to excel at successful strategy implementation, organisations must put the right capabilities and management systems in place. Essentially, every organisation needs a strategy implementation model. When it comes to designing the model, one size does not fit all. However, five guiding principles based on experience and research serve as a strong starting point. The five guiding principles play together in concert. At any given point in the journey, they will help consider implementation aspects of strategy work.

  • Principle #1 – Clarify strategy Sharpen strategic choices, tell a compelling story, design a strategic choice-making cascade and articulate behavioural and business impact targets.
  • Principle #2 – Unify leaders Build unity in the leadership team, establish clear accountability and define non-negotiable leadership behaviours
  • Principle #3 – Build engagement Mobilise stakeholders through co-creation and communication, enable sensemaking at the individual level and build capabilities for new ways of working.
  • Principle #4 – Align commitments Allocate capital, time and people, install management system for coordinating and adapting strategy and support major strategic initiatives through portfolio management.
  • Principle #5 – Accelerate value delivery Build project and line management delivery capabilities, implement strategies through high-impact projects and empower line managers to take the lead.

Putting the pieces together On the one hand, it might seem as an overwhelming task to design the right strategy implementation model and put the capabilities and management systems in place. The five guiding principles and the supporting evidence tell us that there is no such thing as a strategy implementation silver bullet. Just lots of good and hard work. On the other hand, many of the core ideas underlying the principles are actually common sense and based on well-known management practices. The key is to consider the interdependencies across the elements and to design an integrated approach to implementation. Last but not least, we must always remember to put the people at the centre of making and implementing strategy. If we do, chances are that we will not end up like the large majority of organisations that are not able to deliver on successful strategy ambitions