Inventing good strategic plans is only the beginning of achieving measurable change in a company. Just as important is often going to be the way that companies implement these strategies.
While this might sound obvious, implementing strategy is often where good ideas come unstuck and don't achieve any measurable benefit for the company. With companies needing to become increasingly mobile in order to maximise their business activity, there is very little room for failed strategies.
In fact, McKinsey and Company has recently released a study of companies who are achieving the greatest results from their strategic initiatives, and the differences that separate them from ineffective companies.
McKinsey and Company found that good implementers – companies with the best policies for achieving change – score twice as highly as the bottom quartile in two areas: clear accountability and continuous improvements.
This means that industry-leading companies are far better at assigning clear responsibilities for strategy and are more likely to adjust programs once they have begun than their competition.
It wasn't just on these measures which top firms out-performed their competition, with a range of different measures ranking more highly for these companies. For effective project management, top firms are outperforming bottom firms by 1.9 times.
Similar numbers were also reached for organisation-wide commitment to change and sufficient resources for project implementation.
In total, these top firms are twice as likely as their competition to have sustained an opportunity after two years. This suggests that there is a lot of room for companies to improve, especially around the ownership, implementation and accountability of strategy.
One option for companies looking to get the most out of their planning activities is to invest in business strategy software like StrategyBlocks. This system lets senior executives and managers track the implementation of new initiative across an organisation, making it easier to track developments as they arise.