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The strategy journey

  1. 1. The Journey Begins … Seven Steps To A Successfully Executed Strategy STRATEGIC THINKING GROUP November 2003
  2. 2. Please note that this document is part of our intellectual property and provided to you for evaluation purposes only. It may not be shown to third parties without the express permission of Strategic Thinking Group. This document may not be reproduced. If additional copies are required Strategic Thinking Group will provide them to you. Please help us to protect our intellectual property.
  3. 3. Seven Steps To A Successfully Executed Strategy Table of Contents The Journey Begins… Seven Steps To A Successfully Executed Part I – “ Where are we going” (Strategy) Think! Strategy Development Process (Steps 1-3) Part II – “ What do you expect of me?” (Leadership and Performance) “No Excuses!” Strategy Execution Process™ (Steps 4-7)
  4. 4. The Journey Begins … Seven Steps To A Successfully Executed Strategy. S omeone once observed that the race to perfection has no finish line. Our map, quot;The Journey Begins...” illustrates that the crafting and execution of strategy is truly a journey that has no end. It is a dynamic process of thinking, acting, learning, and thinking once again. It emphasizes that successful organizations are characterized by consistency, focus and discipline; and are led by CEOs who use intuition as much as data, have the courage to make decisions, and are committed to long-term success. They can visualize their destination and have the courage to take that first step, to begin the journey. But that journey can be easier if you, the CEO, and your organization have the strategic thinking processes to assist you in crafting your strategy and then managing your response to inevitable change. Strategic Thinking Group’s comprehensive approach, Seven Steps To A Successfully Executed Strategy, has been tested over time and represents our application of the work of the best practitioners in strategic thinking. Our approach will assist you to craft, execute, and sustain your organization’s strategic direction…to build and lead a performance-based organization.
  5. 5. Seven Steps To A Successfully Executed Strategy
  6. 6. CRAFT “ What Should Be Our Future Business?” Step 1. Create a sense of urgency for superior performance. Somehow (and we leave that up to you!) create a great sense of urgency within your organization to achieve the next level of performance. We all have a very strong comfort zone, an unfortunate sense of complacency, from which we don’t wish to move: quot;We are successful. We know the markets. Our customers love us.quot; Yet we all know that success lasts a relatively short period of time and requires continuous renewal. Therefore, a prime responsibility of a CEO is to inspire and enable people to perform at levels greater than they are achieving today. Without that aspiration and the means to achieve greater levels of realistic performance, little will change. For in the absence of a compelling alternative vision of what the future could be, the status quo will always win. Create that compelling vision of future accomplishments and instill the sense of urgency to get there, and your organization will follow you…if you lead by example. Step 3. Craft a strategy. Step 2. Build a powerful executive team. Think! Strategy Development Process So the first group that you must lead is your direct reports, the people One of the major obstacles to crafting a competitive strategy is the responsible, by virtue of their positions, for the long-term viability of the absence of a process to guide the debates intended to reach the strategic organization. Therefore, carefully choose the team that is going to work decisions that will pull your organization into the future. Without a with you crafting the strategy. Break down the walls of functional thinking process, a meeting on strategic issues can degenerate into an operational and bring together executives who represent your organization's entire meeting focusing on day-to-day crises. With a process you are able to value chain, from suppliers to customers. And never let an outside systematically tap the collective knowledge base of you and your consultant set your strategy! They simply don't know your business. Only executive team, and to develop a common language that guides you to you, with your executive team, can set a strategy, since you must live with conclusions, decisions and, most importantly, actions. Formulating the consequences of that strategy. To ensure a sound debate, reach strategy using a structured, disciplined process such as we offer, is not a outside your inner group and install some young members who represent one-off effort. Rather, it is a series of debates about how your the future of the company, and some members near retirement. Retirees organization will continue to be effective and competitive in the future. have nothing to lose by pointing out some unpleasant facts that may be And how ultimately you will be able to respond to the inevitable changes ignored by the bureaucrats in your group. But once you have selected the that will occur. team you must give them a task to accomplish and the tools to accomplish that task. That task is to craft a competitive strategy.
  7. 7. EXECUTE “ How will we manage the execution of our strategy?” Step 4. Communicate the strategy. Measure! The Balanced Scorecard Leadership also speaks in terms of values and the principles that guide People ask their leaders two simple questions: people's actions within your organization. And it recognizes that if an “Where are we going?quot; And quot;What do you expect of me?” Therefore, organization abandons principles for the sake of performance, it will sow when you communicate your strategy you must address those two the seeds of its future destruction. Your role as a leader, as a CEO, questions, thereby making the strategy relevant to the people receiving therefore involves inspiring ordinary people to do extraordinary things. the message. Strategy is the foundation of all organizational This transformational leadership appeals to the higher needs and communication, a quot;storyquot; about the future and the organization's role aspirations of men and women. It taps into the unconscious desire in all within that future. It requires both a storyteller and a listener. Too of us to achieve things we never dared dream. In business, there are often we simply look at strategy from the storyteller’s point of view, the many good leaders who are, what we call quot;transactionalquot; leaders. From CEO, and neglect making the message relevant to the listener, our year to year they make deals with shareholders, labor leaders and people. Thus, the measurement of realistic performance goals that reflect employees, and they run quot;goodquot; organizations. But those leaders who are our strategy serves as a powerful, relevant way to communicate. able to envision the future and motivate their colleagues to accomplish Measurement is a way to observe the impact that our ideas, our strategic extraordinary things will run great organizations. thinking, have on the performance of our people and our business. Yet what we measure and communicate must have meaning and must help Step 6. Build momentum. answer the strategic question, quot;What do we want to become?” We need Attack! Product Launch ways to measure our effectiveness, to measure those things that should be accomplished and which will produce positive lasting results. Yes, Success breeds success. It reinforces a belief system that supports everything you must know in order to answer the question: quot;What do extraordinary performance. In the execution of strategy you must have you expect of me?quot; some early successes, events that essentially prove that the team is capable of executing their strategy. We look for this in areas such as Step 5. Empower your people to execute the strategy. successful accomplishment of a critical change issue, or the successful Lead! “No Excuses!” Leadership launch of a particular product that originated from our strategic But once you help your people understand, through clear, measurable and thinking. These successes give us feedback, allow us to say, quot;It was all inspirational goals, what you expect them to do, you must lead by standing worth itquot;, and prove the inevitable cynics wrong. The principle of behind them, letting them get on with the job…the job having been momentum in competition is well known. From those who play sports, defined as the execution of the strategy. While strategy is the framework to those who are in politics, gaining early momentum is a key to long- that gives your people the bounded freedom to think creatively, your term success. If it weren’t, we would not spend so much time trying to leadership is the glue that holds them together. It speaks of the future and prevent our competitors from building their momentum! what people can accomplish if they are willing.
  8. 8. SUSTAIN “ How will we manage our response to inevitable change?” Step 7. Make performance a habit. By constantly asking and answering those questions, your Defend! Competitor Insight organization will make sustained superior performance a habit, a part of your organization's culture. Someone once observed: quot;We become what we measure.quot; To But a final question brings you full circle. It leads you to where illustrate this point, put a small black dot on the lower left-hand your journey began, for once you arrive at your destination, your corner of a blank piece of paper and ask someone what they see. “castle”, you will inevitably turn around and ask the strategic Most will ignore the large white space and tell you they see a small question once again: “What do we want to be as an black dot in the bottom left, proving the lesson that what you organization?” And once again, quot;The Journey Begins...quot; choose to see is what you pay attention to, measure, and ultimately act upon. If our sense of observation is focused simply on the black dot, (what we are doing today), we will miss the white space, We are able to commence our “intervention at a number of the opportunities of tomorrow…future opportunities which will be points in the process. If you already have a strategy you do relentlessly pursued by our competitors. Successful organizations not need to review at this point in time it may be therefore use a strategic intelligence system to look at the “white appropriate to move straight to Steps 4-7 which offers a space” and answer questions about future customers and disciplined, integrated and measurable approach to the competitors: execution of your strategy. • Where do future product opportunities lie in meeting changing customer needs? • Who are tomorrow's competitors and how will the competition react to changes in customer preferences? • How and where should we attack these competitors? • What must we defend? How will we protect ourselves? • What level of superior performance must we achieve to exceed customer expectations?

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