Measurement & Instrumentation

Overcoming the Great Divide: Embedding Corporate Strategies Effectively

by Holly Lyke Ho Gland 21 Nov 2011
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When the Growth Team Membership (GTM) program surveyed corporate strategy executives to identify their top challenges for 2011, the primary challenge was, for the second year in a row, developing effective strategy implementation plans. When asked to identify the root cause of this challenge, respondents indicated it was a lack of common objectives. Because of this lack of alignment on the desired outcome of corporate strategy, strategists find it difficult to develop and establish implementation plans throughout their companies. Therefore, to address the root cause, strategists need to ensure that the corporate strategy planning process encompasses the appropriate corporate and divisional stakeholders, and mechanisms to secure agreement on the goals and tactics to achieve them.

 The strategic planning process must deal with the following issues head on:

  • Lack of Strategic Alignment—this problem is most pronounced when corporate objectives have to be adopted and adapted by the business units or divisions. Division leadership needs to understand clearly how corporate imperatives need to shape their own strategies and operations. Moreover, the corporate strategy function must support the divisions in using corporate goals as a framework for their own annual planning.
  • Division Silos—even when divisions integrate the corporate strategy with their annual planning, there is still a tendency for each division to do so without any reference to the plans of the other divisions. Without any cross-divisional collaboration in planning, companies risk potential redundancy, internal struggles for resources, overlooking cross-functional dependencies, and ultimately reducing their strategies’ effectiveness.
  • Employee Engagement—strategists identify a collaborative environment and widespread employee engagement as necessary for effective strategic planning. Involving a larger set of employees in the planning process builds a holistic picture of the company’s capabilities and needs and secures buy-in amongst the people who eventually have to execute the tasks that implement the corporate strategy. However, when GTM asked about employee engagement with strategic planning, respondents admitted it was still the preserve of senior management.

Globalization and the size of many companies have strategists struggling to find communication and monitoring methods to ensure corporate initiatives are consistently adopted companywide. All of these strategy development and implementation challenges necessitate strategists developing a supportive corporate culture and open communication strategies.

While there is no single solution to the implementation challenges inherent in strategic planning, there are lessons from the experiences of companies using best practices. A number of these firms have developed an integrated strategic planning process that drives alignment on the objectives and coordinated execution of the plans at all levels of the firm.

 Want to learn more about best practices for integrated strategic planning?

Access a complimentary webinar featuring how Sundt created an integrated strategic planning process to break down silos, establish a shared corporate vision, and coordinate strategic and tactical planning for effective implementation. This webcast includes a Q&A session with Richard Condit, Chief Administrative Officer at Sundt and Steve Haines, Founder and CEO of Haines Centre for Strategic Management.


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