Most people may view business strategy as something that is defined at the executive level and often see it as an academic exercise without grounding in the reality of the workplace. Senior Executive Director Mads Nyrup and COO Camilla Huus share their views and advice on how to lay the ground for a successful strategy process that also works in practice.

Mads Nyrup emphasises involvement of the organisation as key to creating ownership among employees by for example involving as many as possible in the detailed planning of the strategy. “It is critical that the new processes involved in the new strategy are discussed at more levels of the organisation than the top,” states Mads Nyrup.

It is furthermore essential that the employees understand the reasoning behind the development of the new strategy. Otherwise, the strategy will never succeed in creating the necessary change in the culture and mindset of the employees, who will continue doing what they have always done.

Mads Nyrup adds that “A successful strategy is not the result of well-defined KPIs but comes from the ability to create commitment and back-up among the people in the organisation.”

What should you do as manager?

Camilla Huus, COO in Valcon, offers specific advice on how you can begin to involve your organisation in working with a new business strategy:

  • Define overall targets from above in the organisation, and be open to the many possible directions from there
  • Identify those employees in the organisation with the mindset or competences to dare to do things differently, and make sure to put them in charge of the development work
  • As leader, you need to be brave enough to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers. You have to have the courage to open up to criticism and challenging questions
  • Make sure to constantly keep the entire organisation informed about the development of the many parallel processes to ensure that everyone works towards the same goal

Camilla recommends that you dare to set ambitious and long-term visions which you work towards through short-term goals you evaluate annually. “This approach enables you to constantly adapt and optimise your course, as you learn and develop as an organisation. It is important to remember that you don’t have to have all the answers beforehand.”

Her final advice is that you have to act as role model for the new culture you want to integrate in the organisation. To get the strategy from the paper and out into the organisation, it is essential that the managers are willing and ready to go first. In other words, walk the talk.

You can read more about what Mads Nyrup and Camilla Huus have to say about strategy execution here (In Danish only, Ledelse i Udvikling 2017 (3)).