Op Excellence

Evaluating Your Capability for Successful Strategy Execution

Welcome to the Op Excellence blog! Our hope is that you will find what we have to say of genuine value. This week we are focusing on evaluating the capability of an organization to execute a strategy. Frequently we see companies that either engage in the wrong strategy or engage in a strategy that they cannot successfully execute. Successful execution requires that the strategy be evaluated for maneuverability (change quickly), sufficient resources (people, tools and money) to successfully execute the strategy, capability and commitment of leadership, protection from counter or preemptive attack by a competitor, and an intelligence system capable of validating the strategy as execution begins.

We have found few organizations that use any real methodology that evaluates their capability to successfully implement their strategy. Typically they evaluate the basic resource capability and leave it at that. Without examining the other elements of successful execution, they risk failure and in most cases loss of whatever they have invested in their strategy.

We suggest that before rolling out a strategy, an organization should begin by evaluating its capability along all 5 of these lines to ensure it has the capability of successfully implementing its strategy. We will discuss each of these over the course of the next few weeks. This week we will focus on maneuverability.

Maneuverability: In examining maneuverability, we are evaluating the ability of the organization to quickly change. Some changes are much more complex and/or significant than others and will require much more management to successfully make the change. Understanding the complexity and significance of the change in the eyes of those who will be expected to change is the first step in assessing the time and energy that will need to be devoted before successful implementation can occur. In every case, successful change requires strong, committed leadership and both the willingness to change and the ability to change on the part of those expected to change. To assess willingness and ability, it’s imperative to know your workforce. We have used and recommend survey tools developed by ODR® (now Connor Partners) to assist in gaining a solid understanding of the willingness and ability of workforces to change. Armed with this understanding, you would target specific interventions designed to raise their willingness and ability to the levels required for successful implementation.

Ability to change can be measured by evaluating the relative strengths of the forces enabling the change versus the forces disabling the change (see: MIT’s Lean Advancement Initiative, 2003 Plenary Conference). If it appears the ability of the workforce to change needs to be shored up, specific targeted interventions can be designed to provide the necessary reinforcement enabling the workforce.

Next week we will address Leadership Capability and Commitment

This entry was posted on Friday, April 10th, 2009 at 5:39 pm and is filed under Managing Change, Strategy Planning. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Evaluating Your Capability for Successful Strategy Execution”

  1. ron Witcher Says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    i enjoyed this article, thanks for sharing. I would like to look tht e ODR instrument you have for evaltuating abilty to change. Your maneuverability statement is very true. The ability for leaership to adabpt to change fast enough is major reason for failure

  2. Milt Burton Says:

    April 17th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Ron,
    Thank you so much for your comment. As a guide to determine the likelihood of successful implementation of a major change strategy, our personal favorite is ODR’s Implementation Problems Assessment (IPA) – copyright ODR all rights reserved. Based on the fact that history tends to repeat itself, an organization that has had problems rolling out major change in the past, will typically have similar problems in the future. The IPA provides a context for identifying the types of problems an organization has had in the past and gives management the ability to proactively address them to avoid going down that same path again. ODR (now Conner Partners) sold this tool to practitioners. I cannot speak to whether they are still selling it. I would be happy to review it with you, personally, or you might contact them directly at http://www.connerpartners.com.
    Milt Burton

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    April 28th, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Hello, your articles here Evaluating Your Capability for Successful Strategy Execution | Op Excellence to write well, thanks for sharing!

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