It is not a myth that even the best strategy if not clearly set for execution at times fails. Wrong policies often have painfully obvious shortcomings albeit in retrospect. There is, however, a problem in pinpointing the reasons that may result in the failure of a good strategy. Most managers and executive officers fail to identify the critical problems for turning strategies into results.
Some of the reasons that have often led to the failure of strategy execution include poor synchronization, communication, executive inattention, resistance to change and cultural approach. For these reasons, most organizations and firms only achieve a few of the expected results of their strategic plans.
Poor synchronization results from allowing the company’s focus on its strategic goals to shift from time to time. Companies often face strategy problems as a result of having stratified and segmented markets that spread over different geographic regions. This scattering poses a challenge of difficulty in getting the several products to various markets at the right time especially if the firm produces several goods.
Individuals tend to resist change when its impact is not likely to benefit the department directly. An example is when the company through its headquarters is trying to standardize a product, but an executive in an office does not fully support the idea. If the notion involves, say, reducing resources from one department to benefit another department, it will apparently be dismissed by the affected department. At times, this resistance is justified, and the manager will circumvent the strategy rather than support it.
Cultural factors, both internal and external may hinder the efficient execution of a plan, especially when a firm tries to implement a tried strategy in another region because it worked exemplarily well in the first instance. Such a world-beater strategy may fail from the onset due to cultural differences between that area as the case of Wal-Mart’s failure to implement it US-based supplier terms with its Brazilian suppliers when it first moved there. As a result, Wal-Mart had to reevaluate its strategy.
Firms need to evaluate their internal strategies to tackle the problems that hinder their execution. Experts argue that two schools of thought advance the best way to improve strategy execution. One of these schools is focusing on people and the other concentrates on the process itself. These experts argue further that putting the right people in the right places will get things done pretty well. Methods within this school of thought include employee motivation through above average remuneration pegged against their performance. One can also improve the performance of an average employee through training and create a culture of accountability. This method, they say, creates a consistent and superior performance for the company.
Other proponents argue that focusing on the process creates the ground for execution of strategy. However, some experts like Mankins argue that firms that have continually achieved significant results implement a combination of these schools of thought. He argues that these propositions, both have merit and are two sides of the same coin. Whatever the choice of action, experts agree that firms need to develop a model for plan execution, stick to the strategic plan, and assess performance on a frequent basis as well as appropriate communication within the firms’ structures.
In conclusion, it is evident that businesses are spending more time and resources to develop a sound strategy, but they often face problems in their execution. These companies fail due to perennial errors in communication, cultural challenges, poor synchronization and resistance from both internal and external organs. Experts have proposed several ways of circumventing these challenges and succeed in making strategy work which includes perfecting communication channels, frequent assessment of strategy and developing a model to execute strategy. These arguments illustrate that planning is just one side of the strategy coin, and execution is the other and as such, companies need to put more focus in execution as in strategy.