The well established notion that strategy and execution is two faces of the coin has become a foil concept. 2nd grade strategy and the first class execution is always a preferred choice over first grade strategy and the second class execution. Most of the strategy often fails because they are not well executed. The study by Richard and Jason that execution is the key to the success of strategy is flawed in itself. It restricts employees from asking questions to their superior which could raise a lot of unnecessary doubts and poor implementation. Also Richard and Jason theory allows firms to blame their employees for their ineffective execution and failure. To understand it more one needs to take a brilliant strategy that is being poorly executed. So the question raised is how brilliant the result is poor. The aim of this strategy is to generate positive scope and even if it does not deliver desired results yet it can be brilliant. It can be possible that brilliant strategy can work for other companies so brilliant strategies are those whose results are exemplary.
The old conviction is that strategy is a part of senior managers and its execution is in the hand of the rest of the organisation. It is just like the human head is made for thinking and rest of the body parts like hands, legs to execute that thought process. While if we see it clearly we will see that it is a one-way process and doers are choiceless.
To understand it more take the example of a bank. Michelle, one of the employees of this bank is involved in marketing the schemes of the bank that her CEO and her team has formulated. Customer guide or manual that tells how to treat the customer and how to sell them. Michelle has classified all the customers into three categories: One who enters the bank and always in a hurry. For sure they are not interested in bank schemes as they just want their transaction to get completed as soon as possible. Second are those who are not so friendly but will take a quick glance at the scheme. For them Mischel has made a small file card so that they can at least go through it. Finally there is one who always gives space in a line to someone who is in a hurry and always looks for one who can guide them in detail. Michelle put full effort in attracting a third kind of customers.
STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT: 1
Mischel has designed this portfolio to handle the customers. There are no such procedures mentioned in the manual. She is just trying to do her job as best as she can. She is just a choiceless doer. She has made her own strategy and she feels that she is not in a position to cross question her organisation. Her strategy is more based on faithful execution of her job rather than on making customers satisfied. These all factors put constraints on her thoughts. Employees nowadays are more like mechanically obedient people. On the other hand managers are bound with the rigidness to follow strategy execution models. They fail to understand that choice made at the top can create pressure at lower level. If fault arises at execution level then employees are responsible and if it gives great results then executives are praised. Employees are always at loss. This let them feel more disconnected from the company. And finally there are leaders who take too much responsibility to make strategy more complex to implement.
In a company there should be a two-way movement of Ideas through top down and bottom up approach to make execution more effective. People at the top of the company make a broader and more abstract decision and choices. Whereas employees at the bottom make more hard decisions which indirectly affect customer satisfaction. Cascading decisions increase from top to bottom. For example in a bank there is an area manager, then branch manager and finally EVP. Cascading grows as structure increases. It makes the decision making process more complex. To make the decision making process more effective one needs to empower employees to make decisions frontline, like how to make customers more happy and satisfied.
Time to revise upstream approach
Senior managers should not solely think that making a buy is what is required. They must think about how it will feel on the buyer side. Just empowering new employees is not a complete solution, instead top management should work with change managers to persuade his or her employees to be confident about choosing strategy and execute them most sincerely.