A major dilemma and lingering concern for both managers and consultants is how a CEO can be assured that his/her strategic plan will be successfully implemented.
Let’s imagine for a moment that everything in the strategic plan is well-chosen and fits with market needs: so products and services are desired by customers, the price is acceptable, the costs of the business are manageable, and the staff are competent. However, performance is currently below target.
This raises some important questions:
- Have things been properly managed right from the start and have performance issues been addressed?
- How is complexity being managed through this time of unprecedented change e.g. fundamental changes to the working environment and technological improvements such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence?
- How can we ensure that we drive innovation through the inevitable collisions of different people, systems, cultures and customs, competencies and industries?
So what is happening right now in the corporate world? We are seeing CEOs demanding ever more efficient design of strategies, mechanisms and frameworks that enable their organisations to perform better. And it’s becoming harder to align strategy, organisation and people. We notice that:
- The organisations that encourage their staff to interact freely with people at all levels inside and outside, tend to be the top performers
- Staff who enjoy their life both inside and outside the organisation are more engaged and perform better at work
- Where there are conflicts between people, there are often also more creative and sustainable solutions being developed (they use the conflict to drive innovation)
- Companies that have found ways to integrate places and organisational structures in a way supports strategy implementation in a fast and reliable way, are likely to perform better
- A key factor in good strategic behaviour is a coherent system of targets, markets, people, behaviour and places.
The ever-increasing pace of change, the growing demands of customers and the constant threat of new entrants to the markets, all play on the minds of CEOs and corporations. The growing interconnectedness of different industries and markets that were once far apart adds huge pressure, with wide media coverage of battles between AirBnB and hotels, Uber and taxi companies, Amazon and traditional book sellers, and iphone versus music players, video and camera.
We have helped some of our clients to find ways to focus their attention on strategic planning that links people and places, and to measure company performance with economic and financial markers, involving all their key people without limiting this process to the members of the board. The results have been surprisingly positive.