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Making Strategy Executable and Effective

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

The book “Strategy: A History, 2013” was authored by Sir Lawrence Freedman, a professor of War Studies at the prestigious King’s College in London. In his book he demonstrated how strategy must have a working definition in order to evolve and be relevant. He claimed that to enable one to respond to unforeseen events and stay on course, one should use all available resources. He terms it “the art of creating power” because it requires balance of power, authority, and resources.

Sir Lawrence studied military strategy and much of his writings are centered around issues of relevant and operative strategies. Justifying his rationale to “use all available resources” he explained that military strategy dates back to Greek mythology when gods employed either raw strength or craftiness in their battles. Taking the example of the two great warriors, Achilles, and Odysseus who fought on the side of the Greek during the Trojan War, Sir Lawrence produced evidence to his claim; i.e. Achilles used his strength to fight while Odysseus used his craftiness and the Trojan wooden horse to end the war.

Talking about strategy we always ask two major questions! Why aren’t we reaching our goals with outstanding strategies? Why can’t we comprehend and bridge the underperformance between strategy and execution? Well! Studies show only 65% success rate with financial strategies implemented by top executives. Pretty frustrating for most managers and business owners. In fact a big problem for business organizations and their top managers! Failure to achieve success with their financial strategies means wastage of energy, time, and missed opportunities. But it isn't all gloom and doom!

Sir Freedman described that “The world of strategy is full of disappointment and frustration, of means not working and ends not reached”. In short, running an organization is a continuous process of striving to take the business to the next level and achieve growth. Hence “a strategy” to reach the desired goals of an organization can only have a beginning without an end. Therefore, aiming for growth means, managers must take relevant and appropriate steps to walk the path towards where growth will happen. Indeed, each step in this direction will bring new challenges that must add to the organization’s strategic plan. But for strategies to stay relevant and operative managers need to understand and employ best practices in strategy development.

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