Is there something like Strategy Efficacy?
A quick look-up of the word efficacy denotes the ability to produce desired or intended results. But how many strategies fall short or flat of their desired results? I guess your answer may be as good as mine, many. So, what are the reason(s) for this outcome? I’ll attempt to initiate a conversation of some of the reasons that could greatly contribute to the success or pose challenges during strategy execution.
To increase the efficacy of their strategies, managers, need to understand their various roles based on the dimension of the strategy under consideration. Many managers appreciate strategy as a Plan, a limited view, and only one of the levers in strategy execution.
Another misguided notion of strategy as a plan is perhaps its ability to endure during the planned period. As you may have realised many strategies are vulnerable to market shifts and changes in customer preferences. In some sectors, we are experiencing dramatic market shifts which reduce the efficacy of the intended strategy.
Increasing the efficacy of strategy requires managers to be aware that they require both intended and emergent strategies to realise the intended organizational, departmental and team objectives.
To attain an emergent strategy, it is critical for managers to understand the four dimensions of strategy. Strategy as a plan which is the most commonly understood and comprise of the intended objectives at various organizational levels. As a plan we demonstrate organizational objectives being pursued and develop critical performance variables to monitor implementation progress.
Strategy as a perspective which is demonstrated through an organization’s belief system that guides employees to contribute meaningfully to the organization and its stakeholders. Perspective depicts a sense of purpose and pride to serve in the organization. As employees establish a connection between who they are, what they do and how it contributes to the improvement of the society they endure in their tasks and improve their performance, commitment and competencies. This belief system determines who fits and who doesn’t in the organization.
Strategic positioning is mostly understood and underscored in any well documented strategy. However, implementing it faces various challenges due to management failure of defining strategic and conduct boundaries. Managers should realise that to implement positioning correctly strategic choices and risks to be avoided require to be defined for employees to act right and make the right decisions.
Strategy execution requires awareness and sensitivity between control environment on one hand and creativity and innovation on the other. These opposing forces require calibration to avoid stifling organizational creativity and adaptability. The converse is also true that control environment is critical to mitigate operational risks that could impair organizational assets rendering it uncompetitive and eventually precipitating reputational risk which jeopardizes organizational longevity. Managers require to find the right balance between the two pressure points.
Managers must be aware that their organizations could slip into a comma or organizational unconsciousness if they do not pay close attention to market shifts and changes in customer preferences.
They must learn how to use the three dimensions interactively to mitigate strategic uncertainties. To increase organizational awareness managers should sponsor and empower employees at the lowest level to relay market information bottom-up to the decision-makers for adjustments of their strategies and plans.
This requires managers to leave their titles in their offices and get to the forefront lines with their foot soldiers to gather and or receive market information first-hand. Only then can managers assess the success of their intended strategies and where applicable evolve emergent strategy to realise the intended objectives.
Strategy then as an interactive system or bottom-up strategy powers the organization to respond effectively to market dynamics.
To increase the efficacy of your strategy, managers should learn their roles with respect to each strategy dimension and use strategy interactively.
Paul Maina is the Business Advisory Director at PKL Consulting. He can be reached on email@example.com
Director – Advisory Services
I have a vast consulting experience in business advisory services in private sector, public sector and development world. I have worked with World Council of Credit Unions and the founder of Strathmore Research and Consultancy Centre at Strathmore University.
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