You have a visionary strategy that will deliver competitive advantage. The executives are ecstatic …. but over time the strategy fails to deliver the anticipated benefits.
Why is it so difficult to implement strategy?
It’s because the real problem is getting people to implement the strategy.
The role of strategy engagement
We know strategy involves change. So we create people engagement activities, but on their own, they are not sufficient to ensure that strategy is successfully implemented!
The missing element: resilience
Together with strategy engagement activities, people resilience is the vital element in making strategy work. Resilience enables people in all levels of the organisation to cope with setbacks and unwelcome change, and to keep the pressures from work and life challenges positive:
• Leaders need to cope with their own stress, and to display this resilience in their leadership. They also need the tools to coach their Team Members when their resilience is lagging.
• Team Members need to be able to stay task focused and productive whilst experiencing disruptive and even unwelcome change. They need to be able to keep home and work stress separate, and not allow negative stress from one area to influence the other.
Effective strategy implementation requires the organisation to be strategy-fit
Strategy engagement together with people resilience creates strategy-fitness. It reflects the capacity of people in the organisation to deliver the organisation’s strategy. There are two aspects to it – team and individual resilience and strategy engagement:
• Team and individual resilience at work is the ability to remain task focussed and productive whilst experiencing tough times.
• Strategy engagement is when people understand the strategy and how their role fits in, are excited and committed to making the strategy work, and know what to do, how to do it and their efforts are managed.
The diagram below shows four types of Strategy-fitness behaviour:
Resisting: This behaviour is overly critical; has narrow thinking; is stubbornly unconvinced; resists changes and the coping is “stuck”. This behaviour is associated with medium to high team and individual resilience but with medium to low strategy engagement.
Drowning: This behaviour is overwhelmed; feeling let down by management; is withdrawn; often quietly hostile; and has dysfunctional coping. This behaviour is associated with medium to low team and individual resilience and also medium to low strategy engagement.
Quitting: This behaviour is eager beginnings but with later implementation problems; becomes disillusioned when the going gets tough; resentful; blames others and generally opts out. This behaviour is associated with medium to low team and individual resilience but with medium to high strategy engagement.
Flourishing: This behaviour is personally growing and developing; open to learning; enthusiastic; optimistic and embraces the challenges and changes of the strategy. This behaviour is associated with medium to high team and individual resilience coupled with medium to high strategy engagement.
Successful strategy implementation
In order for strategy to be successfully implemented, the impact of the Flourishing behaviour should be higher than the combined impact of the Resisting, Drowning and Quitting behaviour. If not, the strategy realisation is at risk.
For more information about how to achieve Strategy-fitness, click here.