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The Workforce and Strategy Execution

There are three cornerstones of effective strategy execution. The first of these is leadership behaviour. You need to secure active involvement of company leaders to ensure effective strategy execution.

There are several ways leaders achieve this.

  • set goals and priorities — In order to set clear goals and priorities, leaders should first know the business and understand what needs to be done to realize strategy execution. Leaders may also foster success by focusing on only a few prioritized goals. Three or four priorities won’t tax resources, and most organizations need to focus on only a small number of goals to realize effective execution.
  • be decisive and take action — Effective leaders must also be decisive and be able to take action. Often there will be delays in plans. In order to exhibit the competencies, leaders must make decisions and take actions that move the process forward. The decisions leaders make and the actions they take should all focus on solutions.
  • follow through and be accountable — Following through is the only way to ensure everyone is accountable. Sometimes having a few simple goals can mean people don’t take the execution strategy seriously. By devising ways to follow through and check in with those involved, leaders can ensure they keep execution moving forward.
  • empower people — Effective leaders are also coaches, someone who can clearly communicate what the goals are and provide feedback on how those goals can be reached. Effective leaders will also step back and empower people to achieve their goals. This approach benefits strategy execution as empowered employees feel they have ownership of the project.
  • know yourself and your capabilities — Leadership is something that has to come from the person you really are. For execution to be effective, leaders must have strength of character. Leaders must be able to provide an honest assessment of the organization, people, their own abilities, and work to be done.

The Leadership Role

Leaders usually come from upper management and fulfill a number of leadership roles. They are responsible for holding business units and individuals accountable and making decisions on strategy, message, and corporate culture. Both business leaders and line managers are responsible for maintaining the culture and mindset of the workforce and for identifying and developing employees.

Leaders must hold business units and individuals accountable. To do this, they have to clarify expectations and measure results. This ensures that employees know what’s expected of them.

Leaders should also identify and reward top performers and address those who are under performing. If you can implement a high-functioning human resources management system you may find employees begin to encourage each other to excel at their jobs.

Leaders are also responsible for making decisions on strategy, message, and corporate culture.

Leaders at every level are responsible for maintaining the culture and mindset of the workforce that reports to them. A central focus is needed so employees understand how to execute the strategy and become accountable for improving their own performance.

Middle Management Responsibilities

Whereas leaders are mainly responsible for defining strategy, middle management is responsible for strategy execution.

Line managers must understand both the strategy and the workforce assigned to execute it to ensure the right people are in place. They must also deliver the expected performance levels.

They must create a high-performance culture that supports strategy execution. Line managers must develop workforce capabilities with strategy execution in mind.

In strategy execution, line managers are responsible for clarifying performance expectations for each report. Managers must get across the message that every member of the workforce is expected to step up and give it their all. 

And, if managers set clear attainable goals, employees will be better able to improve their performance because they’ll know what’s expected of them, and they’ll be motivated to succeed.

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