Project Management Institute

Mastering Strategy Implementation in Transformative Times

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Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

29 May 2020

Ricardo Vargas head shot

Ricardo Viana Vargas

Executive Director,
Brightline Initiative, PMI

Transformative times call for strategic transformation – but the majority of businesses fail in these efforts. Ricardo Vargas shares tips for planning and delivering a successful transformation initiative based on extensive study by PMI’s Brightline Initiative.

We’re living in an era of unprecedented change, driving an urgent need for accelerated strategic transformation across organizations. Transformation risk is the new chief concern for business leaders seeking ways to stay relevant and keep pace amidst a rapidly evolving technology landscape and a continuously unfolding global pandemic. Nevertheless, a majority of leaders still fail in their efforts to strategically transform their organizations at costs estimated at approximately $2 trillion each yearimagine such a tremendous waste of value for the world.

Mastering the art of strategy implementation is the only way to bridge the gap between strategy design and deliverymaking it a crucial factor in an organization’s ability to realize its vision and goals, as well as its capacity to deliver on transformation that can maintain relevance in today’s business landscape. It’s important to note that successful implementation of strategy and the ability to transform quickly and effectively go hand in hand. Organizations that are more proficient at actualizing strategic initiatives are also high performers in the transformation space.  

At the Brightline Initiative, we have set out to help organizations transform the way they transform. To further this mission, we conducted an extensive study with more than 1,000 global C-level executives on strategic transformation, geared at uncovering what organizations need to drive transformation, as well as what we can learn from organizations adept in strategy implementation. The resulting report dives into the clear connection between successful strategy implementation and transformation, offering a roadmap of best practices that will help organizations jumpstart their strategic transformation journey.  

While there is no single, magical formula that will make your multifaceted strategic transformation a success, here are the some ways you can start creating the right conditions to master your organization’s strategic transformation:

  • Ensure you have right resources. Investment in the right resourcesparticularly the right technologies and the right talentis directly tied to successful strategic transformation. Cutting-edge technology landed the number one spot for the most significant competitive advantage high performers have in order to successfully implement strategic initiatives. But competitive advantages like cutting-edge technology and effective leadership cannot take flight without top talent. In fact, faster-transforming organizations were nearly twice as likely as slower-transforming respondents (34% vs. 19%) to report a greater focus on developing internal talent. As such, implementing effective hiring and talent development systems should be an organization’s highest priority not only during pivotal times in its transformation, but every day. Further, organizations should rigorously and continuously assess and support the development of their talent to augment long-term competitive success.  
  • Lean into leadership. Strong leadership remains one of the key determining factors as to whether or not a transformation initiative will take flight or fall flat. Leaders looking to guide their teams to true transformation should have a clear vision, concrete goals and the confidence and ability to disseminate an action plan to the right people across the organization. If your organization doesn’t already have a Chief Transformation Officer sitting on your executive bench, consider adding this important position; they will serve as a centralized orchestrator for devising and delivering upon strategic transformation objectives.
  • Formalize processes. Organizations actively striving to become more adaptive and “gymnastic” should consider formalizing their processes to drive fast and effective transformation. No matter how talented your people and cutting-edge your technologies, an organization needs a North Starincluding standardized processesin order to maximize talent and technology and, ultimately, enhance transformation. With processes in place, an organization will find a greater degree of adaptability, take full advantage of the tools at its disposal and course-correct when overcoming strategic challenges.

During these challenging times, leadership, right technology and right processes are the key to thrive in these new economy. Check out the full report to learn more insights on how to strengthen your ability to deliver on strategy during transformative times.