Taking Strategy from Paper to Execution

Taking Strategy from Paper to Execution  

Mindy Barker | Barker Associates

In any organization, a significant amount of time and energy is spent on strategy (or at least it should be). Questions including where the organization wants to go and how it will get there are contemplated, and answers developed, in order to move forward. Yet, any plan without action is fruitless – not to mention, an enormous waste of time and resources. Simply, strategy is nothing without execution.  

A smooth and timely transition from strategy to execution is crucial for successful implementation. However, many organizations fail to acknowledge this important step, almost as if it’s a given. And it’s anything but. Ensuring efficient execution of a strategic plan generally comes down to three major organizational assessments:

1. Assessing the Strategy 

2. Assessing the Systems 

3. Assessing the Leadership

Assessing the Strategy 

Once your strategy has been created, it’s time to put it under the microscope. Having a more complete understanding of the potential weaknesses and the process of execution puts your strategy in a much safer position as you move into action. To that end, taking a deeper look at its foundation and trying to find anything that could hinder execution will go a long way.  

An integral part of this assessment should be focused on your competition. How does your strategy set you apart from them? What does the market like about your competitors? What will their reactions be to your execution? What about the timing of it all? Firmly understanding the answers to these questions will help the organization stay on course during the twists and turns of execution. 

Finally, spending some time on addressing the market climate and assessing what is going on in the space you look to occupy will help determine the optimum timing for execution. Does your strategy follow current market trends? How likely is the market to remain stable? And for how long? Researching timing is a key element when it comes to executing strategy – too soon and the team may not be ready or the required systems not in place, too long and the momentum behind the strategy may weaken. 

Assessing the Systems 

With a properly vetted strategy, it’s time to consider whether the organization has the ability and resources needed. Essentially, does it have the capacity to execute the strategy successfully? Analyze the levels of efficiency at which your systems are currently operating and whether they have the ability to scale when the strategy gains traction and requires increased resources.  

If you find a weak spot within your organization’s systems – whether they are processes, software, equipment, property, or even team members – determine what is needed to strengthen it. Can improvements or updates be made, including training for the team, or are replacements necessary?  

In this assessment, it’s crucial to truly listen to your team members. They are the ones who have firsthand knowledge of these systems and processes. They know where the weaknesses are. Use this invaluable input to create efficiencies when it comes to execution and provide a framework for how to synthesize the strategy into the entire organization. 

Assessing the Leadership 

Your leadership team is the backbone of execution. Simply, they are the ones who will provide the structure for a smooth transition from strategy to execution. Are they prepared? Do they fully understand and embrace the strategy and system assessments? Do they motivate the team? Do they help team members feel empowered in their work? Do they encourage team members to come to them with concerns and offer to help them with solutions? The answers to these questions are often found in strong leadership skills that are carried forth with clear, effective communication.  

Even the most well-thought-out strategic plan will invariably fail if the genius behind it remains contained within its pages. These three assessments will help ensure that it won’t. Barker Associates provides strategic guidance and outsourced CFO services to companies of all sizes. We can provide the higher level of strategy your company needs to grow. If you need assistance, or have any other questions, please click here to schedule a 30-minute consultation at a rate of $100.