CleverOcean holds the view, that the ability to execute a strategy at all levels of an organization is a key factor for winners to create value. Even more fundamentally, we believe that you cannot separate the process of devising a strategy from the process of implementing it: these two processes need to be fully integrated.Most organizations have understood that they need to be unique in some sense to succeed. Thus, these organizations have worked hard to develop innovative products and services, that allow them to be different from – and better than – their competitors.
However, when an organization seeks to drive from uniqueness to value creation, it faces many hurdles. In our experience, some of the most important factors that stop organizations from succeeding with their strategies are:
- Uniqueness typically requires a number of skilled people to work together, and these people often belong to different departments or functions. But how do you ensure that people work in the same direction and at the same pace across the organization? That bottlenecks are taken care of as they occur? That barriers to executing the strategy are shared and then removed?
- It is hard for many organizations to follow through on the promises made by its members: From the Board and down, agreements are made every day about what needs to be done, but too often, organizations simply do not follow through on decisions and commitments.
- Not everyone in the organization may know how to translate the overall strategic direction into strategies for their own work, and may not know how to prioritize the effort and contribute their part in order to reach for the common goals. And even worse: when barriers to success are encountered, how are strategic issues raised at the relevant level and handled appropriately through adjustments to the strategy?
Clearly, these challenges are what leaders and employees are supposed to deal with in an organization. One way or the other, executing a strategy is about communication, managing resources, building skills and culture, and putting together the structure needed.
However, the toolbox leaders need to master is evolving rapidly, especially at a time where many industries face disruptions based on new technologies, and in particular digital technologies.
In our view, the challenges of executing a strategy can no longer be handled with an “outdated toolbox”: organizations need to step up their working habits and tools to improve their ability to execute. This recognition inspired the creation of CleverOcean. In our next post, we will talk more about what can and needs to be done…