The core of successful strategy execution

The core elements of strategy execution are

·         An inspiring strategy

·         Managerial practices and behavior

·         Co-acting - working together

·         A strong execution culture. 

Dialogues Shape and Improve Strategy in the Course of Execution

How to create an inspiring strategy? When strategies are told as stories, they become personal and people remember them. Efforts should be made to create a story which helps the strategy become alive. 

Strategies are often launched to the organisation at strategy kick-off events. Such events have traditionally been used as strategy information forums. Kick-offs should rather be used for ensuring key person commitment and viewed as opportunities for strategy improvement - based on interactive dialogues. Dialogues help strategies to be shaped and improved in the course of execution - to start with, strategies should never be prepared 100 per cent complete before starting the dialogue with the people in the organisation. 


A Strategy story presents strategy in a story format. Strategy stories can help members of the organisation create a shared understanding of where the organisation is heading, and what challenges lie ahead. 

Managers have a central role in strategy execution

Managers are in charge of what gets done in the organisation. What we do on a day-to-day basis is the measure of how well the strategy is executed. Managers can make a strategy rise or fall. On all organisational levels, managers’ daily work is therefore of critical importance for strategy execution. 

Strategy execution must be linked to people and leadership. Do we have the right people in the right places to execute our strategy? If the answer is no, we must decide on how our leadership skills can be enhanced. Strategic change often requires changes in the areas of responsibility, sometimes even positions of the managers. When needed, the best talent must be assigned to lead key projects; this is needed in order to secure the credibility of strategic projects and their sufficient resourcing. 

Jim Collins and his team found something interesting in their ‘Good to Great’ research. Managers who created successful changes did not start off with defining a vision, as we could expect. First, they selected the right people to step on the bus, and the wrong people got off the bus. 

Commitment to strategy is born from participation

The best way to engage people is participation. When planning strategy execution, we should consider how people in different organisation layers should participate, or better, co-act, in different stages of the strategy process. The level and extent of participation essentially depends on the organisation culture. In organisations, where the culture supports participation in all activities, people get a lot of experience in participating on a daily basis. In such organisations it is easier to gain commitment to strategy. 

From Plans into Action – with positive human energy

You have a real execution culture in place when people, strategy and operative work are visibly connected producing a functional entity. This requires lots of positive human energy. Managerial behaviour and leadership practices create and maintain the positive engagement energy.