Strategy facilitation is a useful process for top executives seeking business transformation through strategic initiatives. Such initiatives can accelerate and improve an organisation's performance and ensure its sustainability in a competitive environment. However, the reality is that only around a third of new strategic initiatives are successful. This is often as a result of people who resist transformation or fail to agree on the implementation of the strategy.
Every organisation needs an effective strategy, which serves as a roadmap which guides the organisation and its leaders towards a set vision. It enables leaders to effectively allocate resources and prioritise business initiatives that will enable them to realise the vision. If not effectively facilitated, a well defined strategy can dismally fail. Strategy facilitation thus serves a purpose to ensure that the defined strategy is well planned, effectively implemented and constantly reviewed.
The strategy facilitation process is not just about facilitating a strategy planning session. It is about ensuring that all members of the organisation fully understand the strategy and the role they need to play in realising the vision of the organisation. Often with a new strategy, organisations find themselves dealing with obstacles such as resistance to change and poor communication. Strategy facilitation can help break down these barriers and help build commitment to drive organisational change.
The Strategy Facilitation Process
The strategy facilitation process encompasses - and is at the centre of all phases of strategy from planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and consolidating feedback as input into the next strategy planning initiative. An organisation's success in realising its strategy, is highly dependant on the facilitation process to embed the strategic plans across all levels of the organisation.
Organisations conduct strategy planning periodically to consider the effect of changing business, industry, legal and regulatory conditions. A strategic plan may be updated and revised at that time to reflect any strategic changes, and to ensure that the changes initiated are innovative, aligned to the vision of the organisation, and ultimately result in improved performance.
The implementation or execution of strategy, however, is often neglected and its results are frequently unpredictable. Problems encountered with the implementation of strategy often lie not with any flaws in the strategy itself, but rather in a failure to implement it effectively. Such failures can mean that strategic initiatives are only partially successful and lead to frustration as the hoped for strategic benefits are not realised. Ultimately, they can result in the decline or even, failure of the business as a whole.
Translating strategy aims into actionable processes in an ordered fashion is, however, not easy. The setting of priorities and the development of plans may present organisations with formidable management challenges. The effective execution of strategy can be impeded by many and varied difficulties including; weak or inconsistent senior-level commitment, a lack of support from managers and employees, cross-departmental conflicts, ambiguity in roles and responsibilities or a lack of accountability.
A strategy review can deliver significant benefits to a business. In addition to the direct financial benefits of improving performance and targeting new growth opportunities, the process itself can improve alignment between employees, senior management teams and other key stakeholders, helping to drive a high performance culture and clarity on the future direction of the business.
All these processes are contributors towards building learning organisations. Consolidating and capturing the learnings and knowledge from these processes as input into the next strategic planning loops empowers organisations to better plan and prioritise future strategic initiatives.
How effective is your strategy?
The effectiveness of an organisations' strategy depends on how well planned it is, how it is implemented and embedded, and how often and it is reviewed. A comprehensive strategy facilitation process is integral to the success and effectiveness of a strategy. Without strategy facilitation, organisations run the risk of having an excellently crafted plan, which is not adopted nor supported by the greater organisation, thus resulting in a failed strategy.