Strategy Execution Management Explained

Your Guide To Succeeding At Strategy Execution Management

Strategy Execution Management Explained

The complete guide to Strategy Execution Management

Succeeding at strategic transformation has never been more important – so why do businesses fail to manage the Strategy Execution process?

The art of Strategy Execution Management is one seemingly forever shrouded in mystique. How is that organizations can boom or bust when their track record would suggest the otherwise?

Why do some businesses generate consistently impressive revenue and drive down operating expenditure whilst others focus on increasing their market share and category penetration?

More importantly, why do 40% of strategic transformations fail to achieve their potential value when we are in a time of free trade, free movement of people and resource, all the while equipped with greater technology and over 100 years of management theory and practice to learn from?

What is it that you can do in your organization to help create change, drive a culture of success and do this while empowering your colleagues and achieving personal goals?

This is your guide to Strategy Execution Management – all you need to know about taking your company’s vision and turning it into operational reality with eBooks, videos, guides, case studies, theory overviews and much more.

What is Strategy Execution Management?

Traditionally we think of strategy as the formulation of a vision, a plan to bring this to life and then rudimentary measurement systems to track the performance of the plan.

Alternatively, consider the three different focuses your organization can have at any one moment – operational management (business as usual activity), continuous improvement (identifying small changes which can drive down wasted efforts) and transformation (setting breakthrough goals to drastically change the processes and performance over a three-five year horizon).

Furthermore, factor in the need to analyze your internal and external situation, set objectives, tactics, measurements, review and move forward within departments such as marketing, sales and product.

There are many answers which can be given as to ‘what is Strategy Execution Management’. That is not to say the above answers are incorrect, but more so that these are all involved in the convey belt of this area of management.

Put simply, Strategy Execution Management is the sum of three distinct areas: Formulation, Implementation and Execution.

what does continuous improvement mean?

Strategy Formulation

Developing a vision and set of objectives and initiatives based on the voice of the customer that delivers a step-change in performance for the organization, aligned to the business’ policy.

Strategy Implementation

The translation of the strategy into breakthrough goals and improvement priorities, the required resources, metrics and defined activities to support the achievement of the strategy.

Strategy Execution

The operational activity of the strategy – the projects, activity, measures, performance management, and countermeasures associated with reaching the objectives and benefits of the strategy.

Strategy Execution Management cheat sheet

Get to know the A-Z of Strategy Execution Management

Strategy Execution Terminology

Alignment: Ensuring that your entire business is strategically fine-tuned in all their actions – resource, activity, measurements, communication and teams are aligned to what it is the business must achieve, as defined by the strategy, implementation and execution phases.

Business Policy: The business policy concerns itself with the purpose, organizational identity, what needs to be achieved, and utilization of resources to support any given strategy, project portfolio or task.

Continuous Improvement: A management approach which looks at increasing business effectiveness by reducing inefficiencies, frustrations, and waste (time, effort, material, etc.).

Hoshin Kanri: Sometimes known as Hoshin Planning, Policy, Goal or Strategy Deployment – is a strategic planning process whereby strategic goals are communicated and translated into action.

OGSM: Objective, goals, strategies and measures – a system that helps you to define your goals based on those which are broad, fixed and measurable, ensuring your actions and their measures link back to your strategy.

OKR: Objectives and Key Results – a model that looks at outcomes, linked to your strategy, which examines outcomes on a fluid basis each quarter. OKRs are attached to action plans to ensure your key objectives and their results are measured and achievable.

Operational Management: The management of daily work within an organization, ensuring that production and other teams maintain their expected work. Process optimization from continuous improvement will feed into business-as-usual activity (standardized work) through operational management.

Performance Management: The process of measuring all projects and actions within using a tracking system, such as a Bowling Chart, traffic lights and countermeasure sheet to ensure that the strategy is being executed to expected levels, and if not, what needs to be done to correct this.

Strategic Framework: A strategic framework is a structured method to support an organization to achieve its strategy – popular examples include OKR, OGSM and Hoshin Kanri (Policy Deployment).

Strategy Execution Management: The process of managing a strategy from its formulation through to execution, involving operational management, continuous improvement, transformation, performance management and leadership.

Strategy Execution: The operational activity of the strategy – the projects, activity, measurement, performance management, and countermeasures needed to make effective use of resource to reach the objectives of the strategy and realize the benefits of it.

Strategy Formulation: Also known as Strategic Planning, here you are developing a vision and set of objectives and initiatives which, based on the voice of the customer theory, will deliver a true step change in performance for the organization which aligns to the business’ policy.

Strategy Implementation The translation of the strategy into breakthrough goals and improvement priorities, the required resources, metrics and defined activities to support the achievement of the strategy.

Transformation: The approach of setting out a true step change in your existing performance – be that revenue, product offering etc, where you must make drastically different processes and management systems to achieve a performance level that transforms your business.

Voice of the Customer: The means of gauging and recording a customer’s experiences, expectations and wants from your business and then feeding this into your strategy and resulting Strategy Execution Management.

Strategic transformation amidst COVID-19

Volatile market conditions call for adaptive Strategy Execution

2020 introduced a once in a lifetime pandemic to the world.

Much has been written as to the toll that COVID-19 has had on our personal and professional lives, but it would be naïve to move ahead without learning from the past.

One thing that has returned front and centre is the need to heed and feed the Voice of the Customer – the group who your business exists to serve.

Industries were shocked into decades of transformation within a short space of time, meaning that every business re-evaluated how they deliver value to their customer. Without value, customers leave. And, unfortunately, no business has been immune.

Leaders are often moved by grandiose promises of the future and expect to see results immediately. This period, however, has served as a reminder of the importance of the process of Strategy Execution Management.

The 2020s has taught us that being agile in our approach to strategy is a necessity. Adapting to volatile markets, shifts in working patterns and social norms – all these factors are accelerating the pace at which our strategic direction must shift.

Whether it is analyzing and improving processes, or COVID-19 necessitating transformation of business models, the importance of Strategy Execution Management has never been more so since the 2008 crash.

While this guide does not provide a step by step system to follow to be successful, it is a collection of resources which will help you to re-evaluate how you manage strategy and move your organization to better serve its customers.

When uncertainty and volatility reign supreme it becomes time to transform our mindset to ensure we’re adaptive to the “no normal” era. Click below to see how.

Building Blocks of Strategy Execution Management

Let’s take a closer look at the origins of Strategy Execution Management

Strategic management theory begins in the 1950s with well-known thought leaders such as Drucker, Chandler and Ansoff.

Their combined ideas fused business adaptation and organizational structure with corporate planning and decision making.

This fuelled the 1960s enlightenment of strategic thinking, and numerous frameworks, such as:

–  Porter’s Five Forces

–  SWOT Analysis

–  Value Chain Analysis

–  VRIO Framework

Theories

Let’s explore the theories behind Strategy Execution Management

A rapid influx of theories were born in the proceeding years, with names such as the Boston Consulting Group introducing its revolutionary experience curb analysis halfway through the decade.

In 1970, this growth in interest gave Professor Ellen Earle-Chaffee cause to review and clarify, with the hindsight of near 20 years evolution, what strategic management stood for:

–  Adapting the business to its environment

–  Agility and complexities require quality, often creative, responses

–  Providing direction to the entire business

–  Formulating the strategy through process and implementing the strategy’s content

–  It can be planned (intended) and unplanned (emergent)

–  It will be created at multiple business levels

–  It covers conceptual and analytical thinking

Emerging from this point of clarity, Chaffee spoke of two theories of strategy – linear and adaptive.

Linear Strategy

Linear strategy focuses on sequences. Goals lead to actions and actions lead to results. Results are measured and these feed new goals.

This form of Strategy Execution Management is prescriptive. It leaves little room for creativity or input from those executing the strategy.

At its simplest, it translates strategic management into little more than a tick box exercise.

It is this line of thinking which influences leaders to approach implementation and execution in an autocratic manner.

Adaptive Strategy

Adaptive strategy concerns itself with change – organizational processes, structures, skill set and resources.

The change is necessitated by the external environment, which is also the reason for strategic formulation in the first case.

This mindset largely reflects modern management because it is engaging and rewarding.

Leaders take ultimate responsibility for performance, but share passion through effective communication and participatory techniques such as catchball.

Strategic frameworks

Strategic frameworks provide clarity and inspiration to all your employees about how the business will strive to its vision, mission and objectives.

Management By Objectives Strategy Software

MBO

Management by Objectives, also Results (MBR), aims to create and align objectives to operational activities, motivating staff by ensuring they clearly know their roles and responsibilities.

4DX Strategy Software

4DX

The Four Disciplines of Execution - Focus, Leverage, Engagement, Accountability - strips down the complexities of modern businesses to help leaders focus on setting quality objectives.

BSC Strategy Software

BSC

The Balanced Scorecard is an approach which helps businesses prioritize their objectives around finances, customers, processes and products to deliver superior customer value.

OGSM Strategy Software

OGSM

Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures use broad objectives, fixed and measurable goals, strategies to guide action, and measures to give a direct way to monitor performance.

OKR Strategy Software

OKR

Objectives and Key Results is a goal management system to help your business focus on important results in a transparent and aligned manner across teams and divisions.

Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment Strategy Software

Hoshin Kanri

Also known as Hoshin Planning, Policy, Goal or Strategy Deployment, Hoshin Kanri is a strategic planning process whereby strategic goals are communicated and translated into action.

Strategy Execution tools

If the framework is the foundation and structure for the house which is your strategy, it is the strategic tool that fills out that framework to add paint, furniture and fittings.

Vision statement

Vision Statement

A long-term vision for the company’s future – this is based on goals, long-term, and flows from your mission, guiding your strategy and predicting the destination.

Gap analysis

Gap Analysis

The gap between where you want your strategy to take your business and its current state. Also used to analyze internal resource and process.

Value chain

Value Chain

A technique to understand how value is created in your business, via primary and support activities, leading to an action plan to deliver improvements.

SWOT analysis

SWOT

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats looks at the internal and external factors, chances for success and threats of failure, giving a general direction for what your strategy should be.

VRIO analysis

VRIO

Valuable, Rare, Inimitable and Organized, this tools uncovers the internal resource which can provide your business with a sustainable competitive advantage to be harnessed.

PESTEL analysis

PESTEL

PESTEL identifies external (macro) pressures on your organization, considering Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental (or Ethical) and Legal issues shaping strategic performance.

Catchball process

Catchball Process

A participatory technique which sees negotiation and cooperation between divisions, departments and functions to set goals aligned to a strategy.

Strategy Canvas

Strategy Canvas

A diagnostic tool which illustrates your existing strategic environment and the potential future state of the organization should be the strategy be executed correctly.

Business model canvas

Model Canvas

Sometimes used alongside an operating model canvas, the business model canvas helps you to understand your existing business model and how it creates, delivers and reviews value for customers.

McKinsey 7s

McKinsey 7S

This analyzes a business’ design and readiness for its goals from 7 perspectives: strategy, structure, systems, shared values, style, staff and skills.

Porter's five forces

Five Forces

This aligns strategy to the market, assessing your competition, supply chain, customer power, substitutions and the likelihood of new market players.

The Seven Ps of Marketing

The Seven Ps

A tool to generate a Go To Market strategy, defining Product, Place, Price, Promotion, Physical Evidence, People, and Processes.

Building a Strategy Execution culture

Strategic leaders know every person contributes to achieving goals.

Here, performance is measured regularly, with decisions aligned to a strategy that is adaptive to its environment

The Strategy Execution Management culture plants its seeds in education and permeates your communications, critical thinking and team DNA.

Teach

Teach

In business, as in life, learning from our past actions is an invaluable quality.

In Strategy Execution Management, that means borrowing from the continuous improvement mentality and putting into place measurements, tracking systems and knowledge storing techniques that allow for successes and failures to be analyzed.

Communicate

Communicate

Communication is at the heart of a strategic transformation. With learning in your business’ DNA, data will be collected and used to demonstrate performance and improve decision making.

Mutual trust and faith in your direction is formed, and through techniques such as catchball you can build participation in implementation and execution.

Align

Align

With learning and communication in place, your objectives, initiatives, projects and associated tasks will be aligned.

Every team member knows its place in the grand scheme, how their work supports the communal success, and ensures that everyone is on the same page – for their benefit and to the benefit of your business.

Think

Think

Critical thinking is paramount to your strategy’s success. At the planning stage you are asking your leaders to go beyond their existing knowledge of what is possible, all the while challenging team members to reach new levels of performance.

That requires a change in attitude, following the process and best endeavours to truly make breakthroughs.

Without establishing objectives, prioritizing processes to improve, setting targets (and measuring them), all the while securing the right resources to do this, you may wonder how businesses achieve their strategic goals.

Lead

Lead

Leadership begins at the top. Whether you are the CEO, CSO, COO etc., it is your role to embrace your vision, actively engaged in the planning, implementation and execution of your strategy, all the while balancing participation with management.

Strategic leadership begins with conscientiousness – of your internal and external market, the need for effective communication, tools and planning, all the while focusing the business on its goals.

Inspiring and driven, strategic leaders will touch every part of the conveyor belt, waking up every day knowing that transformation is something to be done, not watched from the sidelines.

Building a transformation team

Transformation requires resources – starting and ending with your team.

A strategic team is one that ranges from an Enterprise Portfolio Management Office through to the frontline staff who are working on the projects and tracking their efforts.

The ‘right’ person for your strategy is someone willing to learn, collaborate, communicate and participate in every step of the process.

That person embraces all that makes up the Strategy Execution Management culture, and inspires those around them to grow. And that means your team will be composed of:

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CEO

To provide the ultimate support of the direction.
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CSO

The strategy officer is responsible for owning the strategy.
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CPO

The people officer will operate in an HR function and is vital for communication and training.
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COO

The operating officer will support with systems and processes to succeed.
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Strategy Realization Office

The top-level group managing the strategy.
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Enterprise Project Management Office

The mid-level group managing the strategy.
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Project Management Office

The front-line group managing the projects key to the strategy.
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Business Excellence Office

The group managing improvement work streams to provide incremental value to the strategy.
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Business Analyst

Accountable for analyzing existing business architecture and supporting future changes.
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Project Leader

Lead project teams, create project plans and share learnings.
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Project Team

Plan, execute, measure and install new processes.
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Subject Matter Expert

Key knowledge holders who can drive internal knowledge systems to support transformation.

Strategy Execution Management In Practice

When you take these theories and frameworks and put them into practice, what results?
Here are the results, benefits and challenges you will encounter throughout Strategy Execution Management.

The Voice of the Customer

Ensuring your strategy delivers value to your customers.

While creating a strategy and seeing it through to its execution and realizing its benefits is powerful, unless the direction is influenced by the voices of your customer, it will do little to help you generate more revenue and win hearts and minds.

By understanding the opinions and desires of your customers you can place your organization in a position to systematically deliver what is needed to drive breakthrough change in your products and services.

While there is always the allure of setting hundreds of goals to illustrate success through volume, the Voice of the Customer shapes your logic, shifting it to think of breakthrough goals through the lens of your customer.

The Benefits of Strategy Execution Management

The tangible and intangible benefits of Strategy Execution.

Resource Utilization

Better resource utilization across the business

Benefits Realization

Realize stronger initiative ROI and benefits

Strategic Agility

Adopt a proactive, agile approach to delivering strategic goals

Portfolio Management

Achieve and monitor a balanced project portfolio

Data-Driven Decisions

Let data drive your decision-making and financial planning.

Strategic Engagement

Motivate your entire staff with better comms, rewards and goal-setting participation.

Professional Growth

Upskill staff, lower churn and deliver learning opportunities in Six Sigma, Lean and transformation.

Celebrate Staff

Showcase your people for their creativity and striving for excellence.

Sustainable Success

Join objectives, people, resource and systems to one goal – your strategy.

challenges of implementing continuous improvement

Common Strategy Execution challenges

These are the hurdles you need to clear

1. Autocratic Management
Where strategy is ‘done’ behind closed doors at business retreats among leaders – this makes for limited staff engagement.

2. Bottom-Up Confusion
Where detractors to the strategic vision seek to derail the direction, devoid of accountability.

3. Resource Uncertainty
Where resource cannot be assigned, physical, human, material, financial, to the transformation efforts.

4. Firefighting
Where the strains of daily management cloud the strategic initiative, likely due to reasons 1 through 3.

5. Internal Ignorance
Where leaders plead ignorance to the operational and market realities facing their business.

6. No Implementation
Where the strategic plan is executed without an implementation plan, thereby no resources, metrics or rigor to execution.

7. Improper Systems and Tools
Countless Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, SharePoint folders and A3 sheets of paper are the tools to manage your strategy.

The ROI of Strategy Execution

Going beyond ROI as the measure of strategic success

When considering success in the world of Strategy Execution Management, ROI is a key indicator. However, there are other measurements to be made:

1. More engaged, motivated and happy staff
2. A sense of belonging for every staff member, all aligned to your strategy
3. Clarity and transparency of performance – limiting water cooler talk
4. Better served customers make for longer, more valuable relationships
5. Learning from the past embeds every ‘failure’ becoming an opportunity.

Strategy Execution Management stats you need to know

0
%

of organizations fail to realize the benefits of their strategic portfolio mix

HBR

0
%

of companies who improve their customer experience report revenue increase

Forbes

0
%

of staff are more engaged when their daily work aligns to their business' mission

IBM

0
%

of leaders spend less than an hour each month planning, executing and tracking strategy

Kaplan & Norton

The consequences of failed Strategy Execution

Getting Strategy Execution wrong can have many unintended consequences on the success of an organization. These may be financial, operational or reputational in nature, but are likely to result in questions about the executive leadership’s effectiveness and stewardship.

One such example is the reverse takeover of the software division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) by Micro Focus in 2017.

The graph shows the impact on Micro Focus’ share price over a three-year period, we can see how a strategy – in this case a merger – can be well received by the market, but subsequent failure to execute can cause significant damage to shareholders and corporate leadership.

Strategy execution success HPE

Strategy Execution templates, eBooks, blogs, webinars and more

Learn more about Strategy Execution Management with our dedicated resource hub.

From jargon busters and case studies to webinars, this is the ultimate source of Strategy Execution Management knowledge.

eBook

The Key to Strategy Execution

Download this eBook to learn how your organization can bridge the gaps between strategy, implementation and execution.

Guide

A comprehensive guide to SEM

Jargon Buster

The ultimate guide to strategic jargon

Trends

The future of strategic management

Thoughts

How AI will assist Strategy Execution

Strategy Technology

Are spreadsheets good enough?

Comparison

Hoshin v OKR v OGSM

Thoughts

The strategic Voice of the Customer

Thoughts

Leading Strategy Execution

Thoughts

Transformation and the 4th Industrial Revolution

Advice

Critical thinking in Strategy Execution

Advice

Avoiding strategy deployment mistakes

Advice

The 4 types of decision-making

Explainer

Strategy v Business Policy

Explainer

Strategic frameworks explained

Explainer

Strategic implementation matrices

Advice

Moving to data-driven decisions

Advice

Achieving digital transformation

Advice

Agile Strategy Execution

Explainer

How to assess organizational resources

Advice

How to look beyond ROI in SEM

Explainer

How to use catchball in OKR

Template

Download an x-matrix

Template

Download a root cause analysis template pack

Template

Download a stakeholder engagement template

Webinar

Is there a better way to execute your strategy?

Webinar

How to rethink your strategy for the 2020s

Webinar

Digitalize and centralize your x-matrix plan

Webinar

What does adaptive strategy really mean?

Software

How to build the business case for strategy software in your organization

Software

Explore how our Strategy Execution Management software will help you

Strategy Execution Management software

Learn all about Strategy Execution Management software and how i-nexus helps organizations like yours

Breakthrough results come from a step-change

When seeking breakthrough results, step-changes are necessary – in people, processes and systems.

Unfortunately, the disconnect between boardroom strategy and the ‘nuts and bolts’ activities of project management teams within an organization can be a critical weakness in Strategy Execution.

Organizations need tools that cascade vision, strategy and goals throughout the business to ensure alignment and buy-in.

Traditionally, execution has been managed using standalone tools including Excel, Project, PowerPoint, OneDrive and SharePoint, and project management tools such as Trello and BaseCamp, and business analytics modules such as PowerBI.

These tools can be effective when looking after small, local transformation projects; however, when applied to organization-wide Strategy Execution they can quickly become unmanageable, inefficient and ineffective.

Strategy Execution Management software digitalizes your formulation, implementation and execution, making it easier to manage each element central to your success, all from one location.

Why you may want Strategy Execution Management software

  • Demonstrating the ROI of strategic initiatives
  • Aligning people, goals and projects to one strategic direction
  • Tracking goals from creation, implementation and execution
  • Avoiding spreadsheets, slides and emails to manage strategy
  • The need for transparency of performance and productivity
  • Institutionalizing knowledge and embedding process change
  • Standardizing Hoshin Kanri, OGSM, OKR and BSC
  • Digitalizing the x-matrix planning tool
  • Running transformation programs across divisions and locale
  • Upskill and managing team capabilities

Functionality to look for from Strategy Execution Management software

  • X-Matrix, BSC, Bowling Chart and KPI dashboards
  • Market scanning and predictive analytics
  • Mobile metrics and journal entry
  • Reporting dashboard and integration with PowerBI
  • Root cause analysis
  • Governance and compliance
  • Project and portfolio management
  • Impact analysis and benefits management
  • Reporting cadence
  • Learning and capability management

The benefits of using Strategy Execution Management software

1. Visibility

Real-time visibility into the progress of strategic initiatives promotes a counterbalance to the pressure of day-to-day operations.

2. Focus

Focus enables organizations to achieve more while doing less, and Strategy Execution software gives us the tools to achieve this.

3. Accountability

Strategy Execution software enables management to assign ownership and accountability to individual resources, tying them into execution.

4. Reflection

Test and review assumptions and direction, and course-correct by using one platform to close the loop between action, performance, feedback and correction.

5. Learning

Plan, execute and track your strategic objectives, initiatives, projects and daily activity in one system, institutionalizing knowledge from experiences.

6. Agility

Remain agile to your environment with planning states, using existing data and predictive analytics to feed an adaptive strategy.

Introducing i-nexus Strategy Execution Management software

Discover how the i-nexus Strategy Execution Management platform is the complete solution to managing the end-to-end process of strategy and aligning your entire business to your strategy.

i-nexus overview video

i-nexus for continuous improvement video

Discover how the i-nexus Strategy Execution Management’s platform revolutionizes your Strategy Execution, offering the leading solution to successfully plan, execute and deliver on your transformation goals.

i-nexus software datasheet

i-nexus strategy transformation

Learn how i-nexus digitalizes and centralizes your Strategy Execution Management, ensuring you centralize your activity and make informed, data-driven decisions to bring about strategic success for your organization.

Strategy Execution case studies

Learn how these organizations have used the i-nexus platform for their Strategy Execution

casestudies-syntegon-600x375
CASE STUDY

Packaging

Read how Syntegon automated manual performance reporting and traced objectives and projects with i-nexus

casestudies-wabtec-600x375
CASE STUDY

Rail

Read how Wabtec replaced their spreadsheet patchwork with i-nexus and automated their processes

casestudies-FSN–600x375
CASE STUDY

Private Equity

Read how FSN Capital replaced spreadsheets with a collaborative i-nexus solution that simplifies policy deployment

I-nexus Platform
DEMO I-NEXUS

See how you can digitalize your Strategy Execution Management

Book a demo to see how the i-nexus Strategy Execution Management platform works for your organization, applying your methodology and with your strategic targets in mind.