How the internal strategy office kills strategy execution

 

When you work as a consultant you gain exposure to so many companies and their internal practices. Many, if not all, of the things we see or come across, we keep quiet.  Like Doctors, the stock in trade of consultants is confidentiality. Keeping one’s mouth shut and hands lazy from typing is the best source of reputation.

But some practices are out of this world that you cannot just let them pass. After all, they cut across the industry and one would do a great difference by sharing lessons with other leaders using pseudonyms. That is what makes us experts – the ability to share experiences from our work to solve contemporary challenges. And so, articles like these are born. Some of the lessons I share on the blogs are a result of experiences while working with clients across the world countries.

Some management practices show the consistency of failing across many companies.

One such practice is establishing a department for strategy services – strategy formulation and execution support – across the business. A strategy is the responsibility of all staff, not just one person or department. Execution is an on-going action by every staff on the payroll.

Since strategy is a “big thing” many leaders feel smart having a strategy department among their ranks. In reality, that is the dumbest decisions of all, unless the terms of the strategy office are clear – business intelligence and marketing analysis, new ventures opportunity scanning and investment appraisal, as well as championing innovations in the organization’s priority areas.

But you will find many “strategy officers” actually operational staff. That is the irony. Someone says they are strategy champions but lack clarity of the strategy.

Hint:

A strategy is owned by the staff. Someone must facilitate the corporate strategy formulation where the input of key staff, if not all, is sought for effective ownership. Once that is done, each key staff must be assigned specific targets to attain during the planning period, starting with the first year of the strategy implementation.

The CEO can then work with someone in charge of performance management, usually Human Resources or Finance, to hold people accountable for their targets. There is no need for the creation of the role of strategy officer or executive since they cannot add any value.

What is your take?

Do you think companies need a strategy office? If yes, what would be the scorecard of such an office for effective value creation?

What is your take?

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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