Change Implementation Techniques for Creating a Sense of Urgency

Technique 2.19 Testing the Quality of Your Strategy

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(key evaluation criteria)

Answer the following questions to test the quality of your strategy

1. Does your strategy fit with what's going on in the environment?

- is there healthy profit potential where you're headed?

- does your strategy align with the key success factors of your chosen environment?

2. How does your strategy exploit your key resources?

- with your particular mix of resources (finance, staff, time, etc), does this strategy give you a good head start on competitors

- can you pursue this strategy more profitably than competitors?

3. Will your envisioned differentiators be sustainable?

- will competitors have difficulty matching you?

- if the answers is "no" to the above question, does your strategy explicitly include a ceaseless regime of innovation and opportunity creation?

4. Are the elements of your strategy internally consistent?

- have you made choices about

i. arenas (where will you be active, such as in product categories, market segments, geographic areas, core technologies/competencies, value-adding, product design, manufacturing, selling, servicing, distribution, etc?)

ii. vehicles (how will you get there, ie the means of attaining the needed presence in a particular product category, market segment, geographic area or value-creation, etc? For example, if intending to expand or broaden scope, will this be accomplished by internal activities, such as product development, etc, or external, such as joint ventures, licensing, franchising, acquisitions, mergers, etc?)

iii. differentiators (how will you win in the marketplace; how are you different from your competitors so that you have a sustainable competitive advantage, ie what is your unique differentiation? Some examples include image, geographical location, customer service, price, product styling, value, quality, etc. Ideally your differentiators should be mutually reinforcing and consistent with your organisation's resources and capabilities plus highly valued by target customers)

iv. staging (what will be the speed and sequence of movements of all major moves taken in order to increase the likelihood of success? This requires judgment and can be driven by 4 key factors: resources - funding, staffing, etc; urgency; credibility; pursuit of early wins)

v. financial logic (how will you obtain our returns/profits? Need to look at both the cost and revenue earning elements)

NB Choices of arenas, vehicles and differentiators constitute the substance of a strategy, ie what executives plan to do.

The keys to success over the 5 elements are

- intention to cover all 5 elements

- preparation and investment

- aligning them

- supporting each other

- designing the appropriate support activities, such as functional policies, organisational arrangements, operating programs and processes, etc

- ensuring that all the elements fit and mutually reinforce each other?

5. Do you have enough resources to pursue the strategy(ies)?

- do you have the money, managerial time and talent, and other capabilities to do all you envisage?

- are you sure you're not spreading your resources too thinly, only to be left with a collection of feeble positions?

6. Is/are your strategy(ies) implementable?

- will your key constituencies allow you to pursue this strategy?

- can the organisation make it through the transition?

- are you and your management team able and willing to lead the require changes?

(source: Donald Hambrick et al, 2001)

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