By Todd Ballowe
Focus on Agile Strategy to Improve Execution

These days, things change fast. With a global economic crisis raging, the world has become less stable, less predictable than it once was. New opportunities and threats raise their heads daily, and companies who can identify them and respond the quickest are reaping the benefits.

Because of this, we’re seeing the word “agile” used more and more. Agile development, agile programming, agile strategy: everyone wants to be nimble- be quick. So, what should your organization focus on if you want to improve strategic execution with an agile strategy?

Connect with your market

  • Don’t let your data sit around expired
  • Don’t delay when you encounter a roadblock

The first thing you need in order to be agile is great, current data. How old is your most recent environmental analysis? When’s the last time you conducted a SWOT analysis? Agile organizations are great at scanning their surroundings on a regular basis. It’s no good to you to know what your industry did last quarter if you still don’t have a plan to use that information.

In addition, don’t get tripped up on making sure your data is perfect. Many a strategic plan has been made powerless through data paralysis. Search out what you can and go with it.

Make quick decisions

  • Use trusted methods
  • Don’t just go for consensus

Do you know how to make decisions fast? If you’ve got a list of 10 opportunities but only have the resources to pursue three, then you need to know how best to trim your list. Emotions, politics or alphabetical order won’t help here. For information on making decisions, see our post, How to Evaluate Your Opportunities Strategically.

Also, remember that sometimes consensus works against you. If you’re trying to make sure everyone is on board 100% of the time, you’re most likely going to slow down your organization and make a lot of bad decisions. Good strategy doesn’t have to make everyone happy- it’s got to lead your organization towards success.

Drive your strategy through your organization

  • Leadership Unity
  • Communication

In order to make sure your organization moves quickly to implement your strategic decisions, it’s imperative that your leadership supports both your plan and each other. One of the most common reasons that strategic initiatives miss their mark is lack of support or understanding from leaders- it’s not that everyone must agree on everything- but you need to make sure you’re all on the same page.

Clearly communicating your strategy is also key. Don’t pull in the communication consultants only after the strategy has fallen flat- find out beforehand how best to talk to your people about your strategic direction.

Remain Fluid with your Resources

  • Ensure that your resources can be reallocated
  • Make sure everything isn’t tied up

All this talk about great data, quick decisions and whatnot won’t help you at all if the resources needed to implement your strategy are all locked up. If you’ve invested all you have in your current direction, you won’t be able to change it when new data leads to decisions to jump on an opportunity.