Strategy Execution Trends for 2017

Executing strategy ‘better’ remains one of the top priorities for organisations across all industries and trends have emerged as executives are looking to:

“improve organisational performance by challenging traditional thinking, and changing the way in which their organisations are operating”

Some of the top trends that we have seen through our recent research include:

1.Creating high-performance cultures by implementing new ways of working.

Investments in new technology have allowed for productivity-based and mobile working environments, encouraging a sharper focus on achieving results and improved reporting. There is a shift away from ‘hours in the office’ with new flexibility linked directly to outcomes-based performance indicators.

Hierarchical organisational models aren’t just being turned upside down, they’re being deconstructed from the inside out to keep pace with the challenges of a fluid, unpredictable world.” Tier 1 Global Research.

Organisations are investing in new innovative business practices to deliver outcomes that enable them to respond flexibly in changing market conditions. For example, new digital operating models and data-driven operating models are providing a new platform for improved customer focus and improved internal organisational efficiencies.

2. The re-alignment of people, process and technology through transformation

Transformation is not new, but for some organisations this has involved siloed or functional change and not true enterprise-wide change. Organisations are now driving new transformation programs focusing on ‘re-inventing’ the organisation and developing new operating models that involve the critical alignment of people, process and technology.

3. Investing in change management.

Taking a proactive and integrated change management approach to business transformation and project delivery is providing savings and an increased return on investment (ROI). Change management effort and output is being quantified by measurement of these savings, and also the ‘opportunity cost’ of failed delivery directly resulting from a lack of change management investment.

4. Ensuring that benefits are realised through health and assurance checks on projects.

Benefits realisation continues to be a key focus and this is being achieved though tighter controls at a program and project level. Organisations are investing in regular, independent, project health/assurance checks and project alignment reviews at various stage-gates in the project lifecycle, to better ensure that agreed benefits are going to be met.

5. Continuing to implement Agile and Lean philosophies.

Many organisations are already on the path of continuous improvement through embedding ‘agile’ and ‘lean’ methodologies and philosophies. These investments are at both a strategic cultural level (refer to my article published November 2016 Building an Agile Culture) and a tactical program and project delivery level, providing organisations with more improved and flexible methods of operating.

6. Improved stakeholder engagement.

Effective stakeholder engagement and management remains a critical skill and most successful leaders and teams have already mastered this capability. A more strategic, integrated, and systematic approach to stakeholder engagement remains an area of focus for many leaders and new ways of managing key stakeholders are being embedded within existing frameworks and methodologies.

The quest for executing strategy ‘better’ is being pursued across many industries and at many levels. The value in ‘executing strategy well’ has significant financial rewards. Many organisations are showing strong leadership in their willingness to embrace change and try new things to improve organisational performance.