Implementing Business Strategy

Business Context

In their struggle for superiority or survival firms constantly strive to seek better ways of doing business alongside keeping a sharp lookout for lucrative opportunities they can tap into and exploit ahead of rivals. The most exciting (and bestselling) books on strategy have tended to focus on this latter element, competitive edge, in many cases drawing on military metaphors to map out the nature of the strategic game. However, organizational inertias provide a serious constraint on rational, strategic decision making.

Regardless of whether firms can implement rationally developed strategies, they must still strive to maximise the efficiency of their operations, i.e. pursue Operational Excellence. The danger of this lies in an excessive focus on internal solutions to complex external phenomena. In light of these developments, the key strategic issue is to develop a sharp focus on corporate capabilities, existing or required.

Furthermore, empirical evidence demonstrates that strategic thinking, strategic choice and strategic outcomes co-exist and are readily observable at any point in time. Successful management of this complex process delivers the ultimate strategic asset: the ability to handle the twin demands of continuity and change through effective organizational design.

Integrating these themes suggests an agenda we describe as ‘balanced organizational solutions’, the combination of creative articulation of global strategic management direction and effective employment of appropriate frameworks, processes and tools. The concept of balanced solutions fundamentally addresses the challenge of securing equilibrium in the relationship between a company and its business environment and it includes joint ventures and strategic alliances and a range of ‘network solutions’ wherein a company can compensate for capability shortfalls by engaging in relationships with other companies or by acquiring and successfully integrating them.

In this event, we do not shy away from saying what firms should do to survive in competitive and discontinuous business environments. Instead, we draw attention to the organizational complexities, limitations and inertias which prevent them from seeking, let alone attaining, optimal solutions. There is a growing awareness that if a strategy cannot be ‘marketed’ internally it will have little chance of success in the external marketplace. The concept of ‘internal marketing’ has emerged to address this issue, a ‘way of working’ which contributes towards the creation of a customer-focused organization.

A key role of internal marketing is to ensure that all employees, and especially those who have regular direct contact with customers, believe passionately in the firm’s value propositions and that they are motivated to promote a favourable image of the company. Achieving high levels of customer satisfaction, in turn, requires considerable effort and it must be led and underpinned by top management commitment and inspired leadership.

Indicative Content

    • Identifying key macro organizational capabilities assessment, including:
      # Performance versus objectives
      # Volume, revenue, market share, costs, customer satisfaction etc.
      # Strategic capabilities
      # Technologies, distinctive competencies, differential advantages, innovation competencies
      # Proprietorial assets
      # Balanced product-market portfolios
      # Value proposition effectiveness and efficiency
      # Marketing orientation and customer focus
      # Cross-functional integration
      # Information, planning and control systems
      # R&D capabilities
      # Management development, employee competencies and training programmes
    • Identifying key micro organizational capabilities assessment, including:
      # Customer-based strategic marketing assets
      # Superior image
      # Market leadership
      # Superior products
      # Superior service
      # Superior price / value
      # Satisfied customers
      # Tied-in customers
      # Channel-based strategic marketing assets
      # Widest coverage
      # Focused coverage
      # Superior intermediaries
      # Vertical integration
      # Superior channel partner relationships
      # Company-based strategic marketing assets
      # Customer-focussed organizational culture
      # Managerial know-how
      # Employee know-how
      # Advanced technology
      # Flexible operations
      # Operational excellence
      # Deep pockets
      # Planning and systems
    • Determining which factors to include, which to exclude and which to add for a specific business unit
    • Determining whether each factor is a strength, weakness, neutral or distinctive versus identified rivals
    • Determining key organizational improvement actions

Learning Outcomes

After participating in this event participants will:

    • Understand the principles of the ‘inside-out’ business strategy perspective
    • Have the competencies to develop a comprehensive organizational implementation audit
    • Have the capability to determine organizational design improvement priorities
    • Have the confidence to propose internal marketing plans
    • Apply the principles of organizational analysis using proven frameworks, methodologies, processes and tools


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All content © Colin Edward Egan, 2022