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Presented at the Ministry of Water and Electricity Riyadh on 24th February 2010 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard)

  • Understand effective strategy implementation

  • Phasing/staging strategy implementation
  • Requirements for strategy implementation
  • Motivated leader
  • Resources needed for strategy implementation
  • Organizational changes needed for implementation
  • Behavioral change needed for strategy implementation
  • Control measures for implementation
  • Monitoring
  • Situations in which contingency planning is used
  • Exploiting opportunities
  • Equilibrium
  • Difficulties in management of strategy
  • Opposition to strategy
  • Inertia
  • Selling the plan

  • Implementing a local strategy
  • Old and new management teams
  • Types of managerial personalities for strategic transitions
  • Behavior of various management types during strategic transitions


Phasing/staging strategy implementation: Strategic moves can be likened to a game of chess but several-fold more complicated. In chess the environment and the rules are well known; in strategy they are not. Like chess, strategic moves are in stages. The timing and sequence of such moves are part of strategic logic. Each strategic move must be broken down into its separate specific  components. This makes analysis, monitoring, and modification easier. Very big strategic moves occurring suddenly are associated with higher risk. Each move must be made taking into consideration previous moves and anticipated future moves

Requirements for strategy implementation: Strategy implementation requires motivated leaders, resources, organizational restructuring, and behavioral changes. Both the leadership and the organization (structure and culture) must adapt to the new strategy. The personality of the leader is very crucial in the early stages of a strategic shift. Pioneering types who aim at explosive growth or expansion are more likely to succeed than those who prefer stability, and continuous growth. However when the strategic shift has become complete then the more administrative types who prefer stability can take over. A new strategy may call for human, financial, and material resources not available in the organization. Part of strategic planning is to make sure those resources are available. Unavailability of resources is a strong reason for not embarking on a new strategy. It is also not wise to start the initial phases for which resources are available if there is no guarantee of resource availability for later stages. The  organization must change to match the new strategy: Changes are needed in organizational leadership, structure, design, and culture. Adaptation of the leadership style to the new strategy involves both the personality and style of the leaders. Key managers who understand and are committed to the strategic plan should  be put in the right positions. The whole strategic planning cum management process can fail if uncommitted people are entrusted with the execution. Adaptation of the  organizational structure & design to match the new strategy involves restructuring and reporting changes. The best restructuring is to let each department or unit deal with one or several related strategic issues/objectives. Top leadership then provides coordination between the various units. Operational and functional relationships must be linked through vertical and horizontal integration. The organizational culture must change to match the new strategy, the new vision and mission, and the long-term strategic perspective. Behavioral change needed for strategy implementation: Implementation of a strategic plan leads automatically to behavioral changes. This is because the vision and  sense of direction that are introduced. People are able to relate their individual contributions to a larger picture. They become more focussed and future-oriented.

Control & monitoring: Strict control measures are needed for action plans arising out of strategic plans to ensure that there is no deviation from the vision and mission of the organization or its plans. Monitoring: Monitoring of strategy implementation is of utmost importance. Monitoring covers the following: assumptions and information used in the plan, changes in key personnel, trends, and results. Monitoring can be continuous, at project milestones, during major crises, or at regular scheduled periods. The methodology of planning includes: updating information, predicting future behavior, identifying the impact of actual results on strategy

Contingencies: Situations in which contingency planning is used: Cases of high uncertainty . When forecasts are non-specific? When rapid response to changes is necessary. When particular conditions are likely.

Modifications of strategy for different levels of uncertainty: When uncertainty is low, program exactly. When uncertainty is moderate make progressive reassessment. When uncertainty is high, advance by stages. When uncertainty is very high, utilize prepared opportunism.

Exploiting opportunities: Be always prepared to exploit opportunities. This can be achieved by preparing reserve resources, monitoring the environment, and being ready for rapid reaction. Reserve resources for anticipated immediate needs must be set aside so that no time is spent in mobilizing resources. Monitoring the environment continuously is the only way of making sure that opportunities will be missed. The monitoring must be systematic. The leadership must be prepared to move into  rapid reaction when an opportunity appears

Equilibrium: Strategy implementation is a fine art of balancing opposing and sometimes contradictory forces and tendencies: Balancing  short-term vs long-term goals, Balancing internal vs external forces, Balancing the continuing vs new strategies and workplans, Balancing  stable vs risky options, Balancing time and effort spent in planning vs time for action

Difficulties in management of strategy: There are 4 main difficulties in the practical implementation, management, and control of strategic plans: There is usually a long lag-time between action and outcome. There is always uncertainty about the future. There are many dynamic shifts that require changing plans rapidly. Evaluation of implementation and results is difficult in the midst of action. Long lead-time between action and outcome. Uncertainty about the future. Dynamic shifts that cause strategy changes. Objective evaluation is difficult in the middle of action

Opposition to strategy: Strategy implementation requires dealing with recalcitrant or opposing members. Many people will oppose new strategies because they do not understand their importance for the future. There is conflict between the old and the new. Leadership must be ready to resolve conflicts that arise between new strategic plans and on-going activities. Potential opposition should be anticipated and measures taken to decrease it. Education and continuous effective communication could resolve many problems. Including potential opponents in the planning process could be useful

Inertia: Inertia is the main enemy of new strategies. Human beings stick to what is familiar and instinctively oppose the new. There is always resistance to new changes especially if there is no obvious crisis. Yet the essence of strategy is to foretell and make the necessary strategic moves before catastrophe shows its ugly face.

Selling the plan: Both motivation and logical persuasion are needed to sell a strategic plan especially in situations in which the new strategic plan is opposed


Using the strategic plan prepared in previous exercises, list the main steps you would undertake to implement it

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of using new as opposed to old management teams in implementation of new strategies. For both new and old, list the advantages and the disadvantages. List possible barriers to implementation from the old management

Give examples of the following managerial personalities from your experience in educational institutions:

  • Pioneer (Intuitive Thinking, Explosive Growth)
  • Conqueror (Rational Thinking,  Expansive Growth)
  • Level-Headed (Rational Thinking, Continuous Growth)
  • Administrator  (Conformer In Thinking, Consolidation Of Growth)
  • Economizer (Legal Thinkng, Cautious Growth)
  • Diplomat (Open-Minded, Retreat And  Repositions)

Score each type of manager (pioneer, conqueror, level-headed, administrator, economizer, diplomat) as high, medium, or low using the criteria of conformity, sociability, activity/dynamism, and pressure to achieve.


Writings of Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr

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