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Gepubliceerd op: 7 november 2008
Functie: Strategy theorist and CEO of New Paradigm
Organisatie: New Paradigm

Leadership for strategy implementation and change management

Leadership is about more than leadership behaviour and leadership style, or telling people what to do. Increasing complexity and the role of knowledge work means that people now plan their own work - and make their own decisions.

Effective leadership involves a lot of management - managing the people processes in the organisation so that people can align themselves to the strategy. Henry Mintzberg makes the case that too many problems in organisations are caused by separating the leadership and management roles ("Community-ship is the answer" Financial Times).

Leaders are responsible for formulating and communicating the strategy - but responsibility doesn't stop there. They must also manage the alignment of people for strategy implementation. They need to ensure that the people in the organisation understand the strategy, buy into it, and align their decisions and actions accordingly. And this alignment needs to be measured and monitored.

Aligning your people for strategy implementation

In the most basic terms, a strategy is nothing more than a definition of what you will sell, to whom you will sell it, how you will sell it and where you will sell it. Taken together, these also define your customer value proposition.

Have a clear strategy and understand its implications throughout your company

The four dominant types of strategies - Price, Product, Product+ (premium / high end) and Customer Specific Solutions - should all be based on a clear customer value proposition. Different strategies require different organisational behaviours - and therefore different leadership skills.

Communicate the strategy and get buy-in

Effective leadership means communicating the strategy in a language that the people in an organisation understand. Effective leaders check to ensure people know what the strategy means for them and their job, that they buy in to the strategy, and then support it.

Align the organisation to implement the strategy

The attitudes and behaviours of the people in any organisation are driven by six dimensions of people processes: customer proposition, strategy commitment, processes & structure, behaviour of leaders, performance metrics and culture. Leaders lead and manage strategy implementation by aligning people using these levers.

Measure and monitor the alignment of people to the strategy

Effective leaders check their assumptions by ensuring people alignment is measured and monitored. Effective measurements are in line with the strategic objectives, and actions taken in one or more areas must be supported by actions in the other areas to get the right result.

The way to achieve strategy implementation is not just by telling people what to do. It's by communicating the strategy in a way that everyone can understand and buy into, and see how they can contribute.

Then you put the people processes in place to enable and encourage strategy implementation. Management Centre Europe can help you to do this - at MCE, we do not believe that effective leadership is only a matter of behaviour and style. Effective leadership is also about formulating the strategy and strategy implementation.

By the end of this decade we may look back on the history of the corporation and see that the survivors found within themselves the leadership, not just to forge smart strategies, but also to execute them.