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Strategy Implementation and Management 

You now have a well structured and exiting business strategy.  "The proof of the pudding lies in the eating."  Well if your company is running like clockwork using quartz technology, this is a natural result of your business engineering exercise, just like a quartz watch starts running and keeps time accurately.

Well the analogy is clear:  Old technology watches were ticking over but the accuracy has always been doubtful.  Why?  It was a combination of cogs working together but running in opposite directions.  With modern quartz technology watches everything is lined up perfectly and all running in the same direction.  

The same with company strategy:  The company is going in a direction, but not everybody is pulling in the same direction.  However, once EVERYBODY is fully aware as to what direction the company is heading, the closer everybody in the company starts working towards that common goal, and the better the company operates is all aspects.  It is something like this:

So, the first step in the implementation is to define the business.  Clarify the vision, mission and purpose objectives.  Link all this to the strategic objectives of your company and draft a broad corporate strategy.  From there on, draw up departmental strategies, all in line with the broad corporate strategy.  This is then further linked to the individual objectives of every employee in the organization.  This in turn is then linked to your reward system, planning, resource and budgeting functions.

What is written her in two paragraphs, obviously is not done in two minutes.  Implementing strategy is much more than putting a new procedure in place.  There are four basic organizational aspects that need to be considered very carefully during this process.  Without going into much detail, we will just mention them:

bulletCorporate culture - that pattern of beliefs and expectations shared by the members of the organization.  These beliefs and expectations produce rules for behavior - norms - that powerfully shape the behavior of individuals and groups in the organization.  This may prove a difficult nut to crack in implementing a new strategic direction.
bulletOrganization Structure - which is much more than boxes and arrows on a chart.  An organization's structure must match the firm's strategy.  When properly done, changes in organization can be a powerful tool with which to implement a new strategy.  When strategy is formulated it should consider both today's organization structure and any future changes required to implement the chosen strategy.
bulletHuman Resources - the people that make it happen.  How well an organization implements its strategy, depends to a large extend on how much thought is given to the people needed to make it work.  This includes everybody, from the top manager in the organization, right down to the lowest level.  Making sure that the right people are available at the right time, can be a real challenge.
bulletManagement Processes - bringing it all together.  There are basically four main processes to consider, and although there is overlap with things already discussed, there are distinct differences:
bulletPlanning - which in this case can be thought of as the communication of strategies to top management.  The main objective is to make sure that the adopted strategies stay on track.
bulletProgramming - the second process needed to keep the organization moving on its chosen strategic course.  This is the process needed to make the funds and programs are allocated to activities that drive the strategy forward.
bulletBudgeting - the tool that is used to formally allocate the resources required to fund activities or functions in future periods.
bulletMeasure and Reward - Aligning measurement systems with other parts of the company's strategy and organization is a creative process that is frequently overlooked.  But it one of the key factors to ensure that the adopted strategic path of the organization is understood and driven throughout the organization.

The Roles of a Consultant

These can be categorized into three main categories:

bulletChange Agents  A consultant standing outside is in the best position to define management's role in a process.  Especially when sensitive issues have to be discussed and decided.
The consultant also has a very important role in training the internal driver of the change process.
bulletCommunicator  As an independent person, a consultant has an important role to ensure that the process of change is fully understood and supported throughout the organization.
bulletArchitect  In this capacity, the consultant plays an important role in facilitating the strategy design at all the levels of the organization.

There is much more to be said about this topic.  What appears above is just a very brief general skin of the process of strategy formulation and implementation.  For more information, click here.

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Last modified: May 25, 2007