Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Strategy Implementation

By: Applied Learning  09-12-2011

  • Do your employees truly comprehend your company's strategy?
  • How can strategy be translated into tangible actions that employees can effectively execute upon?
  • How do you gain the support of your employees to successfully implement your company's strategy?

Employees may be willing to passively listen to a presentation about your company's strategy, but they won't support it or fully act on it until they understand and accept the personal implications of the strategy. Rather than "telling" employees about your strategy, we have the ability to develop customized Knowledge Maps to engage your employees in the thinking behind the strategy. Employees will have the opportunity to discuss the most critical market drivers affecting your business and draw conclusions for themselves. They will understand how your business works and what role they will have to play to support and successfully implement the strategy.

There are 4 phases of deploying strategy effectively:

  • Alignment
  • Communication
  • Execution
  • Sustaining results in the long-term


Organizational Alignment

Alignment is achieved when the shared beliefs, values, and ways of working within an organization drive the realization of strategic goals and objectives. To maintain alignment, it must be monitored and energy must be invested when necessary to keep leadership, strategy, and culture harmonized. To create and maintain organizational alignment, it is important to change the level of connection with which a company operates. Many leaders are waiting for their employees to embrace the ambiguity and uncertainty of change and often wait for employees to engage in change that they themselves may not be willing to undertake. Knowledge Maps are a great solution to effectively align an organization and help leaders change that level of connection. Knowledge Maps can help to provide information to all parts of an organization of what changes have to take place and help gain buy-in at every level. Creating this type of alignment ensures that everyone understands their role in the process and has the ability and willingness to drive change.

Senior Leadership Alignment

We have a tremendous amount of experience working side by side with top senior leaders to clarify strategies, refine ideas, and give them shape. Our strength comes from the ability to understand things from a broader perspective and to help ensure that a company's strategy can be turned into actions and accountabilities. In the Knowledge Map development process, we use visualization as a tool to depict the company's strategy and build senior leadership alignment. Often, we find that even though leaders may think they all agree on the strategic direction of their company, it is not until strategy is visualized that they have the ability to comprehend how well they are truly aligned as a leadership team.

Employee Alignment

Your strategic plan should align everyone -- from senior executives to front-line employees -- to a common direction and goal. However, in too many organizations, strategic planning occurs only at the very top and its outputs -- often thick binders full of complex documents -- are not communicated effectively beyond the executive team, nullifying the plan's potential. Knowledge Maps can help employees align around the strategy. In cases where only a part of the organization is aligned around the company's strategy, Knowledge Maps can also successfully help align the rest of the organization.


Through the process of visualization, targeted questions and marketplace data, Knowledge Maps help to communicate your company's strategy among employees in a consistent manner. Employees will be able to "connect the dots" between market place realities and changes being made within the company. They will also have a better understanding of how your company's strategy, group performance and individual behaviors have to align in order for your company to succeed. As employees come to their own conclusions about the importance of your company's strategy, they often also feel more empowered to help deliver on those strategies. When employees have a good grasp of your company's strategy, employee buy-in and support also increases significantly.


Enabling Employees to Execute the Strategy

Once the key pieces of the strategy have been articulated clearly by the leadership team, we can help build a action oriented framework that will help to move strategies beyond the paper they are written on. This framework will help employees translate the company's strategy into terms that employees can act upon. This framework will also focus on fine-tuning and/or extracting the most critical, actionable outputs from an organization's strategic plan.

Business Unit and Functional Area Action Plans

Unless employees understand how they can impact strategy at the business unit or functional area level within a company, strategies will not be deployed effectively. Through the use of custom business unit and functional Knowledge Maps, employees will understand the steps that they can take to bring strategies to life. Company resources and tools (for example, Balance Scorecards and performance management systems) will also be integrated into the process to help employees prioritize and act on strategies. This step in the process will ensure that each of the areas within the enterprise knows how to focus its finite resources on the most critical strategic areas (those identified in the framework), put an action plan in place, and ensure execution of the strategy.

Sustaining Results in the Long-Term

To ensure that your company will sustain business results in the long-term, it is critical that it has adequate systems, frameworks and a strong culture. We have the experience in helping organizations focus on improving the framework for performance measurement and management, embedding the system within the organization's culture, and helping employees adapt and change over time as the organization's strategy evolves. This involves such things as driving operational improvements and accelerating change management at an individual level.

Other products and services from Applied Learning


Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Business Transformation

Business transformation requires employees to make dramatic changes to what they do and how they do it, but employees will resist this level of change without knowing reasons why they should, and agreeing to those reasons. The underlying philosophy of our approach is rather than tell people what to think or what to do differently, give them a fun and engaging process by which they can examine marketplace information.


Custom Solutions :: Overview

Knowledge Maps™ have been used by companies around the world to transform their employees into knowledge partners, focusing the organization on the most critical issues facing the business. Knowledge Maps are customized to meet each client's unique needs, whether those needs be company-wide strategy communication or executive leadership training.


Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Leadership Development

Unless managers are equipped with the foundational knowledge of the company's strategies and tactics, it is unlikely they will be effective in engaging employees in a discussion of how each employee contributes to the future of the business. We work with Clients to integrate custom Knowledge Maps into leadership programs to renew intellectual capital and empower the executive to act as a change agent for achieving organizational effectiveness.


Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Organization and Culture

At Applied Learning, we have helped companies engage employees in a learning process regarding changes to the company's brand strategy and repositioning of the company's brand in the marketplace. Then employees are given the chance to review marketplace data to see that the world has changed significantly since they formed their original view of the business.