Strategy: seven ways to master it


Some companies are good at strategy development, some at strategy execution, but few excel at both. Those that do share seven key attributes that separate them from the pack, explains Yahya Shakweh

  1. Devise an integrated closed-loop strategy framework

Instead of developing strategy as a standalone process and then starting its execution, successful companies develop a fully integrated framework that address key activities, including; (a) development, (b) translating strategy into themes, measures, targets and initiatives, (c) strategy alignment, (d) operational planning, (e) execution, (f) monitoring and (g) learning and adaptability.

  1. Commit to a clear identity

Rather than pursuing growth in non-core markets, successful companies focus on opportunities that leverage the company’s strategic capabilities with a clear value proposition and distinct capabilities. Through effective mobilisation, appropriate governance and strategic management, leadership can embed the new approach and culture into their business management systems, thus creating a continual process to meet the current and future strategic needs of the organisation.

  1. Transform the strategy into everyday action

Instead of following industry best practices as the right way to success, successful companies build custom-made capabilities that differentiate them from the rest. They make strategy everyone’s daily job by educating the organisation about it, helping employees develop personal objectives, then rewarding them based on their implementation of the company strategies. They also aim to make it a continual process by linking it to the budget process, reviewing regularly, and developing a process for learning and adapting it.

  1. Leverage business culture’s strengths

Instead of focusing on business restructuring or redesigning incentives, successful companies deploy their culture to drive desired change; they leverage the power of deep-rooted beliefs and behaviours. Their leadership devote itself to cultivating the collective expertise in a way that matches the unique cultural attributes of their company to fully instil their actions into the culture.

  1. Prioritise resources and allocate strategically

Instead of trying to reduce costs across the board by going lean everywhere, successful companies allocate resources strategically. They instil a mindset of clear priorities by working on the dual plan of both clarifying strategy and providing a rigorous framework for its implementation. This enables managers to deliver by translating business plans into detailed operational blueprints and leveraging the company’s performance management system.

  1. Envision and build the future

Instead of attempting to be responsive by swiftly reacting to external changes as and when they unfold, successful companies create the change they envision and shape their own future. Their leadership are change agents who can lead with courage and humility.

  1. Integrate learning into strategy and planning processes

Successful companies demystify strategy, making strategic thinking a routine and integral part of the forecasting processes that are already in place in the company. They establish a structured process and operational reviews, take corrective action and promote learning. They also embrace testing and adaptability through profitability analysis, strategy correlations and by embracing emerging strategies.

About author

Yahya Shakweh

Yahya Shakweh

Dr Yahya Shakweh is a chartered director, established executive, business strategist, thought leader, director and adviser.

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