Strategic Planning and implementation
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You should stop now if you think that strategy is something the Leader computes and then hands to a grateful and eager workforce for implementation (because we're only going to irritate you).
Firstly, even the most brilliant strategy is worthless without the capacity to implement, and lack of ownership plagues implementation efforts everywhere. Indeed, the analysts who value companies set greatest store not by the quality of the strategy, but by the organisation's ability to implement it. Clearly, if you can implement a strategy, you can always change it if it isn't living up to expectations. If you can't implement, the most brilliant strategy cannot succeed.
There are two significant implementation challenges to overcome:
Let's describe them and then discuss our approach.
- The inherent intellectual problem of creating a winning strategy in the first place;
- Creating alignment and coherence in the people system (the social network) that must devise, implement, and maintain the strategic effort.
Creating a Winning Strategy - A Logic Bomb
Your organisation operates in a landscape teeming with variables so complex that the cause and effect chains are often too mysterious to fathom. This makes it impossible to factor all of them into your strategy: so no perfect solutions or perfect moves there then. A definitive strategy can never be achieved, and your efforts will instead be bounded by time, money and attention span. Also, scary this, a really sophisticated understanding of the strategic problem isn't revealed until you have implemented your strategic solution and thus surfaced the problems, consequences and connections that you could not have predicted when you devised the strategy (welcome to Horst Rittel's ‘wicked problems' (Rittel and Webber 1973) !
Coherence and Fragmentation in the Social Network
The workplace has become increasingly democratised: it is informed by flatter structures, empowered teams, partnering, stakeholders, shareholders, the various disciplines, agencies, functions, equal opportunities, and employment legislation. Even if you were so inclined, stuff cannot be managed by diktat in the modern world.
In this environment it is easy to see how people might feel more separated than united, daunted by living in a world in which information and knowledge are chaotic and scattered.
The challenge is to create shared understandings of the different perspectives all these people hold, as a preamble to the commitment to search for solutions.
Our approach to Strategic Planning and Implementation
You would expect an organisational development consultancy to be able to design and facilitate a process that produces a strategy for your business. It merely gets us a seat at the table. So clearly, we can help you identify the appropriate tools and approaches for developing your strategy and then facilitate your organisation's thinking. With excellent processes that have helped hundreds of organisations, we minimise the risk that you launch a strategy with avoidable errors in it. After all, it's bad enough, that you will have to learn from unpredictable consequences that are only revealed once you implement. But we go much further by helping you address the implementation issues.
In addition to helping you conceive, develop, and reach consensus on your strategy, we support you in producing the expected benefits. We stick with it. We dramatically reduce the cycle time for getting the work done through:
A brief example of our work
- Engaging the whole organisation in the strategy to create coherence and alignment, in order to implement your strategy at speed. (If the strategy passes its sell-by date due to tardy implementation, it's worthless);
- Personal coaching, supporting the sponsors and change agents in tackling the tough situations and avoiding the personal attrition of being ground down by resistance and vested interest.;
- Managing the people-in-change issues so that crucial perspectives are factored in, and avoidable resistance, delay and scepticism are factored out;
- Skilled facilitation of work streams, the steering group, and the whole system events, to reach consensus on actions, decisions and solutions, fast;
- Excellence in helping you to manage a project environment that delivers the benefits.
OPDC worked with the Property Management Division of a UK-based organisation to re-generate the business. We worked with the extended management team to discover and clearly define the future value proposition for the market and the top four Strategic Goals for the next two years. We then facilitated a meeting with a selected group of employees, a ‘diagonal slice', to get their input into strategy formulation. Following this, OPDC worked with the different project groups to support implementation as well as provide 1:1 coaching to change sponsors. This approach meant that the majority of employees were directly involved and supported in the implementation. This in turn, meant high levels of enthusiasm and commitment, and a successful implementation.
A large mental health NHS Trust decided to conduct a root and branch review of its psychological treatment services in order to develop an integrated strategy for their delivery. Using individual and focus group interviews, we helped them to assess the current state and then we designed and facilitated the search conference that produced the vision, strategy and the plans for the reconfiguration of psychological treatment services.
Rittel, H. and M. Webber (1973). "Dilemmas in a general theory of planning." Policy Sciences 4: 155-169.