Executing strategy at the speed of change

Executing your strategy at the speed of change

Is your organization fast enough? Fast enough to develop new ideas and get them to market before the opportunity fades? If you are in an industry that is facing the impact of digital transformation, or simply the effect of new entrants that are nimble and focused, chances are that the change going on in your environment is faster than the speed of change inside your organization. That’s a problem. You can get left behind the wave of change if you don’t do something about it and quickly.”

And the problem is here to stay. Gone are the days of “sustainable competitive advantage”. Fewer and fewer things are immune to disruption. Practically every industry is experiencing the need for speed and innovation to remain relevant. We need to think in terms of how to innovate to stay ahead of the wave of alternatives and substitutes for what we offer. The taxi industry was relatively warm and comfortable with their barriers to entry until Uber exploded their model. Retail was a predictable channel of distribution until Amazon turned most stores into a showroom for on-line
purchases. Newspapers and magazines (remember those?) were a primary source of information until smart phones turned everyone into a reporter and the internet became the main source of information.

Technology is advancing at a pace that makes some or most continuous improvement efforts pointless because change will obsolete the process before it can be improved. And so it is with our traditional view of how to create and execute strategic plans. In many businesses, the cycle time for creating a strategic plan, incorporating it into the budget and releasing it takes more time than the next wave of change takes to crash over us. The plan then becomes obsolete before it even gets out of the gate.

It comes down to speed, speed & speed.

Speed of innovation. This includes insight generation, designing, prototyping, testing, iterating, optimizing and scaling. All in an environment where there is a high degree of uncertainty about what will really work in the market and what the response will be from competitors. The development process needs to be created around design thinking so that we iterate toward a brilliant new product or service instead of planning for some “big bang” event. This makes us faster because our approach is grounded in better information.”

Speed of organizational capability generation. Just because we invent the next generation solution with incredible market insight etc, does not imply that our organizations know how to produce, sell and service the new invention. Culture is not a four letter word but it might as well be when we encounter the inertia that goes with asking the team to make the changes we need to create the next level of our business. We need a faster and better way to bring the organization along starting with the executive suite.

Speed of implementation. Once upon a time it was possible to create very definite plans and lock them down into a predicable schedule. Few things are completely predictable at this point and therefore the traditional ways of planning and scheduling are no longer viable in order to get the job done. We need fast and flexible ways of executing strategy that keep us from getting the work implied by the strategy entangled in the operational day to day aspects of the business. Strategy and operations don’t mix. When innovations are ready to become an operational reality they can be integrated into operations. Until then they need to be kept on separate tracks…

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Executing strategy at the speed of change

If you are in an industry that is facing the impact of digital transformation, or simply the effect of new entrants that are nimble and focused, chances are that the change going on in your
environment is faster than the speed of change inside your organization. That’s a problem. You can get left behind the wave of change if you don’t do something about it and quickly.

Mark Morgan
Mark has a 30 year history of creating wealth for his employers and customers. Starting off with a career in IBM, Mark implemented programs that put millions in the company bank account with changes to sourcing strategy and quality improvements. In his consulting work he has created hundreds of millions of dollars of benefit in one client alone. Clients find significant value in solutions that fir their DNA. Mark creates a learning environment where clients make progress on addressing their issues while gaining the ability to address their future challenges.

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