Implementation: Meaning and Steps

22/05/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Strategy implementation is the translation of chosen strategy into organizational action so as to achieve strategic goals and objectives. Strategy implementation is also defined as the manner in which an organization should develop, utilize, and amalgamate organizational structure, control systems, and culture to follow strategies that lead to competitive advantage and a better performance. Organizational structure allocates special value developing tasks and roles to the employees and states how these tasks and roles can be correlated so as maximize efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction-the pillars of competitive advantage. But, organizational structure is not sufficient in itself to motivate the employees.

Strategic implementation is critical to a company’s success, addressing the who, where, when, and how of reaching the desired goals and objectives. It focuses on the entire organization. Implementation occurs after environmental scans, SWOT analyses, and identifying strategic issues and goals. Implementation involves assigning individuals to tasks and timelines that will help an organization reach its goals.

An organizational control system is also required. This control system equips managers with motivational incentives for employees as well as feedback on employees and organizational performance. Organizational culture refers to the specialized collection of values, attitudes, norms and beliefs shared by organizational members and groups.

Following are the main steps in implementing a strategy:

  • Developing an organization having potential of carrying out strategy successfully.
  • Disbursement of abundant resources to strategy-essential activities.
  • Creating strategy-encouraging policies.
  • Employing best policies and programs for constant improvement.
  • Linking reward structure to accomplishment of results.
  • Making use of strategic leadership.

Steps in Strategy Implementation

To ensure an effective and successful implementation of strategies, it’s a good idea to have a system to go about it. Take a look at the steps to ensure that happens.

Step 1: Evaluation and communication of the Strategic Plan

The strategic plan, which was developed during the Strategy Formulation stage, will be distributed for implementation. However, there is still a need to evaluate the plan, especially with respect to the initiatives, budgets and performance. After all, it is possible that there are still inputs that will crop up during evaluation but were missed during strategy formulation.

There are several sub-steps to be undertaken in this step.

(a) Align the strategies with the initiatives

First things first, check that the strategies on the plan are following the same path leading to the mission and strategic goals of the organization.

(b) Align budget to the annual goals and objectives

Financial assessments conducted prior will provide an insight on budgetary issues. You have to evaluate how these budgetary issues will impact the attainment of objectives, and see to it that the budget provides sufficient support for it. In the event that there are budgetary constraints or limitations, they must first be addressed before launching fully into implementation mode.

(c) Communicate and clarify the goals, objectives and strategies to all members of the organization

Regardless of their position in the organization’s hierarchy, everyone must know and understand the goals and objectives of the organization, and the strategies that will be employed to achieve them.

Step 2: Development of an implementation structure

The next step is to create a vision, or a structure, that will serve as a guide or framework for the implementation of strategies.

  • Establish a linking or coordination mechanism between and among the various departments and their respective divisions and units. This is mainly for purposes of facilitating the delegation of authority and responsibility.
  • Formulate the work plans and procedures to be followed in the implementation of the tactics in the strategies.
  • Determine the key managerial tasks and responsibilities to be performed, and the qualifications required of the person who will perform them.
  • Determine the key operational tasks and responsibilities to be performed, and the qualifications required of the person who will perform them.
  • Assign the tasks to the appropriate departments of the organization.
  • Evaluate the current staffing structure, checking if you have enough manpower, and if they have the necessary competencies to carry out the tasks. This may result to some reorganization or reshuffling of people. In some cases, it may also require additional training for current staff members, or even hiring new employees with the required skills and competencies. This is also where the organization will decide if it will outsource some activities instead.
  • Communicate the details to the members of the organization. This may be in the form of models, manuals or guidebooks.

Step 3: Development of implementation-support policies and programs

Some call them “strategy-encouraging policies” while others refer to them as “constant improvement programs”. Nonetheless, these are policies and programs that will be employed in aid of implementation.

(a) Establish a performance tracking and monitoring system

This will be the basis of evaluating the progress of the implementation of strategies, and monitoring the rate of accomplishment of results, or if they were accomplished at all. Define the indicators for measuring the performance of every employee, of every unit or section, of every division, and of every department.

(b) Establish a performance management system

Quite possibly, the aspect of performance management that will encourage employee involvement is a recognition and reward structure. When creating the reward structure, make sure that it has a clear and direct link to the accomplishment of results, which will be indicated in the performance tracking and monitoring system.

(c) Establish an information and feedback system

Establish an information and feedback system that will gather feedback and results data, to be used for strategy evaluation later on.

Again, communicate these policies and programs to the members of the organization.

Step 4: Budgeting and allocation of resources

It is now time to equip the implementors with the tools and other capabilities to perform their tasks and functions.

  • Allocate the resources to the various departments, depending on the results of financial assessments as to their budgetary requirements.
  • Disburse the necessary resources to the departments, and make sure everything is properly and accurately documented.
  • Maintain a system of checks and balances to monitor whether the departments are operating within their budgetary limits, or they have gone above and beyond their allocation.

Step 5: Discharge of functions and activities

It is time to operationalize the tactics and put the strategies into action, aided by strategic leadership, utilizing participatory management and leadership styles.

Throughout this step, the organization should also ensure the following:

  • Continuous engagement of personnel by providing trainings and reorientations.
  • Enforce the applicable control measures in the performance of the tasks.
  • Evaluate performance at every level and identify performance gaps, if any, to enable adjusting and corrective actions. It is possible that the corrective actions may entail changes in the policies, programs and structures established and set in earlier steps. That’s all right. Make the changes when necessary.

Basically, the results or accomplishments in Step 5 will be the input in the next step, which is the third stage of Strategic Management: “strategy evaluation”.

Some argue that implementation of strategies is more important than the strategies themselves. But this is not about taking sides or weighing and making comparisons, especially considering how these two are important stages in Strategic Management. Thus, it is safe to say that formulating winning strategies is just half the battle, and the other half is their implementation.