Yes, managers need to understand the A-Z of strategy: its design, execution, and monitoring.
This blog discusses the last piece of the strategy-management jigsaw – monitoring. Apparently, ‘what gets measured gets managed’; so if strategy is meant to help businesses attain signature value-addition, then businesses have to ensure it’s monitored. When strategy is monitored, managers get serious about its management. And should strategy not be watched, and we know many of you corporates relate to this assertion, it will be left to fossilise on computer hard disks. The result of the latter is the loss of signature value-addition
Strategy is monitored to ensure that businesses’ remain on course to realising intended objectives, but also, to change course should it be necessary. Strategy is not cast in stone. It can be tweaked, significantly changed, or abandoned if it’s no longer serving its original purpose. In the absence of effective strategy monitoring, companies may miss telltale signs of strategy dysfunction
If the monitoring piece is fundamental to holistic strategic management, in the same vein, allotting responsibility for strategy monitoring is of equal significance. Companies need to ask and answer the question: ‘who is responsible for monitoring strategy implementation?’. Companies are advised to develop a strategy monitoring system, plus assign Directly Responsible Individuals (DRI’s) in charge of monitoring.
Strategy monitoring tools can be a simple excel sheet; a dashboard with a traffic light signal system – Green is done, Yellow is Work in Progress, and Red is delayed or not done; or more sophisticated academic tools like Kaplan & Norton’s balanced score card, etc.
Whatever tool companies decide to use, it ought to be noted that strategy monitoring systems are built on two main drivers:
1. What needs to be delivered – the action
2. The Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – the evidence
Companies need to define precisely what needs to be delivered as well as the proof of delivery (different from KPI’s). Also, companies need to monitor priorities as well as strategy-outcomes against the agreed KPI’s. In effect, companies have to ask the question: ‘Are KPI’s translating into expected effects?’. The effects may be the bottom line target or wealth creation targets for the for-profit firms or impact on people well-being for the not-for-profit peers.
Clearly, ‘delivery/action’ and the ‘measurement-of-success’ are critical variables in any strategy monitoring system
Key questions to ask when monitoring strategy:
According to managementhelp, the questions below can help companies to monitor and evaluate the status of implementation of the strategic plan:
1. Are goals and objectives being achieved or not? If they are, then acknowledge, reward and communicate the progress. If not, then consider the following questions.
2. Will the goals be achieved according to the timelines specified in the plan? If not, then why?
3. Should the deadlines for completion be changed (be careful about making these changes — know why efforts are behind schedule before times are changed)?
4. Do personnel have adequate resources (money, equipment, facilities, training, etc.) to achieve the goals?
5. Are the goals and objectives still realistic?
6. Should priorities be changed to put more focus on achieving the goals?
7. Should the goals be changed (be careful about making these changes — know why efforts are not achieving the goals before changing the goals)?
8. What can be learned from our monitoring and evaluation to improve future planning activities and also to improve future monitoring and evaluation efforts?
When companies realise that strategy implementation is not going to plan, there should be no cause for alarm. Companies should pause and reflect, understand the cause and effect dynamics, and either tweak, significantly change, or abandon strategy altogether. It’s okay to modify or give up a strategy than continuing to implement a botched strategy only to fail at the end.
Companies rarely remember to celebrate success when the implementation is going to plan. Please, learn to appreciate teams and individuals that contribute more than the others to signature value-addition.
The above is integral to the Effectiveness lab’s bionic-entity theory – corporate success accrues from the simultaneous application of multiple Organisational Vitals (OV’s) to management situations. In this case: smart Leadership, Strategy, and People.