Business Strategy and Beyond: A perspective

Amit Das

Director – Human Resources

Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd.

 

In today’s dynamic business environment, the organisations are reeling under multiple unprecedented sets of challenges as well as potential opportunities. The pace of market change, global opportunities, innovation and changing demographics generate many opportunities to create value, but it is difficult to identify and extract value out of those opportunities. Not only are the organisations changing, strategies are changing and skill sets are getting evolved to adapt to those changes.

The decision makers seeking to steer a business to sustained success in this dynamic environment, need to have a concrete understanding of ‘where to play’ and ‘how to win’, to maximise long-term value, which they term as their strategy.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

A famous quote from the well-known guru of Time management, AlanLakein,reminds us that many of the day-to-day operational struggles we face in organizational life, had their seeds sown in the past, when we failed to think ahead. The line above summarises the need to have a ‘STRATEGY’. Having a clear and focused strategy is critically important to the success of a business, and without a well-defined strategy, businesses will tend to stall or even fail. Where one cannot but simply emphasise on the importance of crafting a winning strategy, it is equally pertinent to be able to execute and implement it to ensure a win.

Beyond Strategy

While strategy is about deciding what to do, execution is about getting it done. Strategy and execution; both go hand-in-hand. Many leaders underestimate the implementation challenge and end up allotting fewer time or resources, resulting in implementation slipping off the radar. Without clear and coherent implementation roadmap, you may have an exciting vision, a compelling mission, clear goals, and an ambitious plan with many actions under way, but you won’t have a winning strategy.Increasingly, leaders globally, are recognising that they need to build the skills to craft, communicate as well as execute strategy.

But strategy is not only a leader’s responsibility. Drafting a strategy as well as executing it will always need a dedicated team. However, the team size will vary depending on the business scale and turnover. It is the leader’s responsibility to be able to assess when is the right time to lead and show everyone the way, and when is the time to sit back and encourage collaborative working from the team.To have an effective business strategy, it is pertinent to have a robust linkage between the organisational goal and its planned implementation roadmap, so as to ensure a better understanding of the strategy amongst the middle and junior executives, who are ultimately responsible for its implementation. A structured mechanism to monitor progress of these initiatives should also be put in place to build rigour in the entire process as well as enable course correction, wherever needed.

Changing needs of the Next-Gen As I see it, the Next Gen enterprises will be a healthy mix of a global and virtual, and will enable limited geographic and time constraints. The increasing volatility of business will demand an inflow of talent and skills from around the world, making the workforce arena more competitive. With the latest inflow of innumerable E-coms and other technology backed organisations, companies will become much more tech-savvy, cost sensitive and would be ready to offer customised products and services at lower prices. To compete in such a landscape, the DNA of tomorrow’s organizations must integrate the following elements while designing a ‘STRATEGY’:

• Transition from a ‘Board Room’ strategy to a ‘Shop Floor’ strategy. Strategy must provide each employee (across levels and functions) with clear guidelines on how to act in various situations and must be a key driver of their motivation. What is needed is a structured project plan in place for the initiatives embarked upon; resources required, accountabilities identified, milestones set and decision gates set up as well, along with a meticulously designed communication plan to ensure the project plan reaches the grass-root level.

• Technology will also be a key tool that would enable process streamlining across verticals. With the advent of technology in all fields, it is safe to assume that organisations that are the leading players in aggregating and analysing interestingdata to get important business knowledge, would be able to attain a clear leadership position and also establish a high entry barrier to competitors. Businesses that fail to innovate, run the risk of losing ground to competitors, losing key talent, or simply operating inefficiently.

• Talent is more mobile than it ever was. As organisations increase their global presence and exposure, building global talent becomes crucial to manage their operations across locations. Companies require leaders who have a global mindset and are able to adapt, extrapolate and take decisions relevant to each local market. But the organisations should also be mindful of the needs of the new gen workforce – a greater emphasis on wealth and wealth-creators, enhanced means of communication & collaboration, flexible working styles and avenues to perform in a virtual partnership environment.

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