Consulting ADVICE

Developing executable strategy & planning its implementation

Strategy execution facilitator & advisor

Dr Andrew MacLennan has over 25 years of experience facilitating and advising on the development of strategies that are executable – and how to plan and manage their implementation.

He has worked closely with leaders in dozens of industries and across the globe, usually in long-term partnerships to support execution, delivery of results and the embedding of internal capabilities.

Reviewing strategy & its execution

Is your strategy is working? How do you know? These can be difficult questions to answer. Some general advice will be helpful, but ideally, focused research can uncover robust insights. Some of the best methods include:

  • review of strategy- and execution-related documentation and data
  • interviews with a diverse range of stakeholders
  • focus groups with larger groups
  • the Strategy Execution Capability Survey, which Andrew MacLennan has applied in dozens of organisations
The discovery process is about more than gathering data. Engaging stakeholders also starts to build the relationships, appetite and dialogue that are essential to a successful strategy and execution process.

Renewing strategy

If you are refreshing your strategy, you should probably consider its executability from the start. Organisations righty look outwards when strategising, but they cannot afford to lose sight of the internal constraints and strengths that should also inform strategic decisions.

Research suggests that to have the greatest chance of success, strategy and execution plans should be:

  • continuously evolving, rather than episodic (for example renewed every five years)
  • created by involving those responsible for execution, rather than ‘cascaded’
  • flexed in response to systematic feedback, rather than set in stone
Meeting these criteria often requires adaptation of existing strategy processes. Andrew MacLennan has supported this transition in many organisations. 

Executing strategy

Strategy execution is not easy. Skilled facilitation of workshops and other work can be extremely valuable as organisations:

  • translate strategy into action – identifying critical activities, making trade-off decisions and creating strong ‘line of sight’
  • design and align mechanisms for delivering these activities – including projects, processes and experiments
  • undertake organisation design – to ensure the right accountability, communication and collaboration
  • align mechanisms for managing organisations, team and individual performance

Measuring strategy's success

Tracking the execution of strategy and its outcomes is critical. Strategically-aligned performance measures provide the feedback required to making the right decisions about accelerating, adapting, pivoting or sometimes stopping activities.

Many organisations struggle with a complex legacy of performance measures, many of which have limited decisional value. Others find that measurement has become conflated with reporting, control, target-setting or contingent reward – crowding out the critical feedback value that metrics offer.

If your organisation needs to refresh measurement or refine the dashboards and scorecards upon which leaders reply, a robust strategy execution provides the essential foundation.

Refining strategy

Is your organisation currently successful in achieving its strategic goals? If so, now’s the time to step back, reflect and build capability to cope with whatever the future may bring – whether you want to consider how your organisation could be disrupted or optimise current performance.