Category Archives: System’s Approach

Strategy Execution

Strategy takes wings with Execution

Man, so also woman, desires to work to a plan and works all along with intent and purposes by carrying out the right SWOT analysis and measuring his step towards the goal sure of success. However, despite all the right strategies, planning and boldness why do his plans often land up in a soup?

Yes, you guessed it right. It is the failure to implement the strategies with feet firmly on the ground while the head is held high. Strategy execution thus is the most critical part in any operation cycle for sound mission accomplishment.

What Does it Mean?

Strategy execution is a discipline which defines an organisation’s ability to deliver on the designed strategy.

All good strategies hinge on three basic ingredients for success..




So how does one go about DOING IT?


The Naked Fakir - An Inspirational Leader

Volumes can be written about this intangible sun in the strategy solar system. However, it would suffice to say that only a leader can make execution happen with his/her commitment, clairvoyance and perseverance to see the strategy go through. At each level, the strategy needs and begs good leaders to see it through with their commitment and personal involvement while maintaining high standards of personal motivation across teams. These are must for the leadership to succeed:-

  • Know your people and profession.
  • Be Realistic.
  • Set clear goals and priorities.
  • See plans through by constant but discreet follow up.
  • Just reward system.
  • Be a dedicated coach.
  • Lastly and most important – know yourself.


Intent Matters

It is futile to reiterate that execution’s biggest enemy is the change of focus or intent which chips away at the delivery model of execution. Incidentally studies have revealed that strategies are only optimised to about 63% due to lack of right execution plan and environment.

Howsoever complex the strategy, its execution requires matured intent at each level. Diffusion of this very critical component can create dysfunctional work environment with processes, people and resources being pulled in different directions. As long as the team is clear about the intent, and every member is aligned to this intent chances of success rise manifold.

Road Map

All roads to success need road maps. The strategy execution road map, designed to fathom intricacies or nuts and bolts of the plan, is like sharpening your axe for 6 hours and cutting it in 2 rather than chopping away with a blunt axe. So to begin with, the execution map needs an overarching game plan for the road to be traversed with – a basic blueprint with the requisite signage and resource plans integrated with pragmatic time lines. This is the primary leadership domain and needs undivided attention of the leader.

Core Execution Processes

These are the strategy process, the people process and the operational process.

  • Strategy Process.   As outlined above this process must clearly highlight the destination and the road that leads up to it. It must consider all intangible and tangible parameters which would be required to achieve the goal. Internal and external environment, milestones, capacity to execute the strategy, resource management and people leadership matrices are critical components of this process.
  • People Process.   This decides who is going to get you there and thus calls for right selection of leaders and teams. A robust people process plan merits application of right talent through various stages of execution and an effective system of rewarding achievers and mentoring under performers.
  • Operational Process.    A sound operational process links strategy and the people to the results. It provides the milestones on the road maps and links them to resources, time and goals. This process is in the realms of operational art and merits a deep commitment to various tangible and intangible activities.


This is the most critical element of the strategy execution processes. Unless there is synchronization among all these processes, goals are likely to get blurred, people dis-empowered and resources frittered away. Time is the biggest casualty which snowballs into cost and credibility crunch.


Applying System’s Approach

As the name suggests, system’s approach is applicable to solving, streamlining and check listing various components of any issue at hand from picking apples to running conglomerates. Plenty of literature is available on the subject including integrated automated models. However, application often skips comprehension where the system’s approach becomes an end rather than a means to achieve the end. That scares people away.

It is a systematic procedure to identify the main ingredients of the problem, analyse various missions essential (METL – Mission Essential Task Lists) to achieve the task, evolve multiple Terminal Objectives (TOs) for each of the tasks and thereafter evolve enabling and learning objectives (EOs and LOs) for each terminal objective. This process of analysis provides a logical approach to analyse all perspectives of a problem before you begin to solve it.

Initially it takes some time to get used to this systematic evaluation technique but once it is in place – solving the problem systematically becomes a cakewalk – without glossing over the key components of the problem. It, as we said earlier applies to all walks of life.

Let us say you want to train your Perception Management team (Don’t have one?).

First step is to identify your basic perception management problem – what are those key issues that need to be addressed to project your organisation. They decide the METL – draw out a list viz existing perceptions about your brand, the gaps in perceptions and what perceptions do you want to commit to market’s memory. Is your team equipped and are there adequate creatives and branding experts available. If not do you intend hiring or outsourcing and so on till you arrive at the desired list

Having drawn up the METL in detail flowchart each of the Terminal Objective that would result in your Mission of good branding achieved in relation to your existing brand image in the market. These could be related to products, people, tools or approaches with suitable themes.Identify the training needs for each as you go along.

Each TO will have a few EOs and LOs which will enable you to achieve the TO effortlessly and enable wide based learning without missing out on any detail. This tree gives an overview of each step from the intent to the EO and LO.

The Military uses it effectively

Now based on this tree, draw out the gaps in information, people, resources and approaches to develop suitable themes to meet with the METL requirements. The training parameters, tools, methods and syllabi can now be orchestrated to train the team. Combine the e learning module and you save time on class room training. QED.

Initially you may take some time to start getting used to this problem solving system. But with practice it will become an approach you wouldn’t want to do with out. While the topic is vast, it’s application overtime can become innate, helping you approach daily problems systematically. Started in the armed forces to meet the training needs termed SAT, the system, as we said earlier can be matured for every human activity.

CWG 2010 would have been a different story had SA been applied to it on nomination of Delhi as the venue. Well may be next time!