New market dynamics are moving at an incredible rate. Technology is not only changing the way we do business, but forcing traditional business models to adapt and evolve to keep up. Never before has the ability to execute initiatives and effectively implement change been as vital or as urgent.
This presents considerable opportunity but also significant challenge. Organisations large or small, who are able to change and quickly modify, reframe or reinvent their offering and execute their initiatives are better positioned to seize market opportunities and leverage technology.
Those that struggle with execution or are averse to change, face decline, obsolescence or even potential demise.
This need for agility is also true for new and fast growing businesses. Here dynamic markets, customer demands and operational complexity drive a different need; one for structure, process and management in order to make good on the entrepreneurial zeal.
But here is the problem - while strategy, planning and intent appear to be within reach, so many organisations seem to falter in the execution, falling short of expectation, losing focus, taking too long, giving up too soon or simply failing, all the while taking a heavy toll on their people.
Execution is tough and risks can be high, sustainable outcomes are often complex and results difficult to achieve. It demands both a skill set not generally required in a business as usual environment and an intensity of focus and energy that’s beyond the day to day.
But there is a way, strategic execution has an underlying structure, a process. Tap in to it and strategic execution can be empowering. Here’s how:
The COR model of Strategic Execution provides a framework for fast and effective execution. The three-phase approach is pragmatic yet remains fluid and adaptable to achieve the outcomes required, while maintaining the original integrity of intent.
1. Convert - Purpose + Plan
The initiative is understood, justified and converted to a clear, considered and purposeful course of action.
2. Operationalise - Enable + Implement
Momentum is created, leadership is activated, the people are focused and mobilised. Action plans are implemented, modified, visibly measured and actively managed.
3. Reset - Anchor + Refocus
Outcomes are reflected, recalibrated and anchored, resetting direction, aligning capability and refocusing the people and the organisation.
Before you start - now is the perfect time to ‘sanity check’ your options, feasibility and strategic direction. Make sure you’ve got it right and you can finish what you start.
Phase 1 | CONVERT
The catalyst to act must be clear present and undeniable, as must the consequences of inaction, and the impact on the people and organisation.
To meet the challenge, or grasp the opportunity, a palpable vision of the future needs to be created, the substance of which makes the journey, effort and action worthwhile, compelling and urgent.
This is the starting point of energised engagement. It provides clarity of purpose, emotionally anchors commitment and ignites momentum.
Execution planning gives operational substance to the strategic intent. Conditions will change, so start with the end in mind but not constrained by it. The plan is a working document that evolves and adapts as required. There are three key points of review and amendment.
1. The Roadmap - First, is the creation of the high level execution roadmap. It aligns strategy, structure, action, resource and provides the framework for realising the desired outcomes.
2. Operationalised Plan - Enhanced with feedback from the conversion process and input gained in the enablement work, a granular operationalised version is produced. Finalised for action, ready for implementation.
3. Completion - Third is the completion process, strategic review and recalibration. Outstanding actions are resolved. Outcomes are matched with expectation and adjusted or realigned.
Planning in each stage should also encompass both internal and external stakeholder (and influencer) expectation, engagement and management. Minimise the pain, theirs and yours.
Phase 2 | OPERATIONALISE
The 1st step of the operationalise phase is to Enable, harnessing the power of culture and organisation and then taking action.
The five linchpins are the right mindset, empowered leadership, engaged people contributing, structured support and mobilisation.
This is supported by planned, considered and targeted communication.
Combined, these elements create a ‘Cultural Shift’ and ‘Structural Reset’ replacing fear and uncertainty with clarity of purpose and confident action.
Execution plans are reviewed, updated with feedback and finalised for implementation.
The 2nd step, Implement is all about getting it done.
Leaders, management, supervisors and front line staff take action and accountability for implementation and outcomes. Stakeholder expectation, impacts and influences are actively managed throughout.
Issues, unknown factors or missed actions become apparent. ‘Adapt, Resolve and Act’ is the mantra. Maintain the intent, but get it done.
‘Visible Action’ that is consistent with the vision and purpose is important: it has impact. It provides tangible evidence that the execution initiative is real and happening.
‘Visible Leaders’ with a high level of presence actively support, prioritise and direct focus and activity, building confidence.
‘Visible Indicators’ are crucial. First, to measure and manage the implementation activity. Second, to ensure that the underlying business stays on track. Finally, to rally the people or redirect effort.
Momentum is important, maintaining the urgency with energy is paramount. Communication should be the source of truth, consistent and targeted with issues, concerns and obstacles, proactively and quickly addressed.
Phase 3 | RESET
Implementation plans and activity are seen through to a conclusion.
Outcomes, results, trends, feedback and obstacles are examined and reflected against expectation, original planning and strategic intent. Further action is determined and then enacted ensuring outstanding issues are resolved. Execution outcomes are anchored in function through process, work practices, business rules, budgets and physical structure.
Communication and engagement continues, shifting to resetting the new business as usual.
Refocus - The focus is now on stability and optimisation. Building competency with a mindset of operational excellence and agility, confident in the ability to execute and respond to the market.
Strategic Execution can be your new competitive edge.
Do you have a mission-critical project, initiative or startup, that just can't afford to fail? We can help.
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