One of the key elements to making a strategy work is effective leadership to maintain focus throughout the implementation. We’ve all heard that strategy is as much about what you won’t do as it is about what you will do, but distractions and diversions are very, very tempting to organizations.
Ideally, when you craft a strategy you’ve first created a detailed vision of what you want to be. The strategy then is how you will get there. One of the difficulties is keeping in contact with the vision while you’re in the midst of everyday business. Put another way, you’ve got your future state in mind, but it’s what happens between now and then that determine if you’ll make it and it’s relatively easy to lose the connection between now and the longer-term.
Success is not so much a matter of framework or structure, but rather of discipline, the right decision making, adjustments to direction, and making progress. Just as you make constant adjustments with a steering wheel in order to drive a car, the leader must make continual adjustments to direction to keep the organization focused on the strategy. And that also means saying “no” to diversions no matter how attractive they may appear.
Leadership is critically important to implementing a strategy and making it work.