Getting feedback from the employees is indispensable, and putting it into a strategic context is important.
Companies, too, have silent killers working below the surface — mutually reinforcing barriers that block strategy implementation and organizational learning. The silent killers can be overcome, but first leaders must engage people throughout their organizations in an honest conversation about the barriers and their underlying causes.
Companies have long known that, to be competitive, they must develop a good strategy and then appropriately realign structure, systems, leadership behavior, human resource policies, culture, values and management processes.
Between the ideal of strategic alignment and the reality of implementation lie many difficulties. For one thing, senior managers get lulled into believing that a well-conceived strategy communicated to the organization equals implementation. For another, they approach change in a narrow, nonsystemic and programmatic manner that does not address root causes.
We began our research on strategy implementation when CEO Ray Gilmartin and chief strategy officer Ralph Biggadike of Becton Dickinson recognized that perfectly sound strategies were not easily implemented. As is often the case, good intentions embodied in a new structure were not sufficient to change behavior.
A worldwide educational program created to demonstrate how the global organization should work failed to overcome barriers.
|The Silent Killers of Strategy Implementation and Learning||Data Collection While interviewing top customers and employees, the task force members ask the basic question:|
|Office of Forecast and Policy Analysis Samples in periodicals archive: To maximize their effectiveness, color cases should be printed in color.|
|The top management team composes a task force of a cross section of middle managers from different functions and appoints it to collect the organizational information Data Collection Members of the employee task force are trained to conduct open-ended interviews with employees and customers and collect information about specific management practices and arrangements that help or hinder the implementation of specific strategies. Consultants conduct interviews with members of the top management team about their effectiveness.|
Like other companies we know, Becton Dickinson bought in to the structures consultants recommended, but a gap appeared between knowing what to do and actually doing it.
The process provides a window for understanding deeply rooted barriers that are common to an array of companies. It unfolds over a series of meetings intended to promote an open and fact-based dialogue within the senior management team of an organizational unit, as well as between the top team and lower organizational levels.
The process involves five steps. Create a statement about direction. The senior management team develops a concise statement of strategic and organizational direction that articulates the links among the competitive environment, performance goals, business strategy and needed organizational and cultural changes.
The statement will be used to communicate the strategy to the broader organization and to explain the logic behind it — and as a stimulus to collecting organizational information on barriers to implementation.
Collect data on barriers and strengths. A task force composed of a cross-section of well-regarded managers, one or two levels below the top team, is appointed to conduct open-ended interviews inside and outside the organization about specific management practices and organizational arrangements that help or hinder the implementation of strategy.
The task force selects the sample of individuals interviewed. The outside researchers conduct interviews with members of top management about their own views of barriers to strategy implementation and about their effectiveness as a team.
The task force meets together to analyze the information collected from the interviews and identifies major themes. Develop an integrated plan for change. In an intensive, three-day feedback and planning meeting, the top team receives a thorough and candid account from the task force on how the organization is functioning.
Then, using a comprehensive analytic framework, the top team analyzes the underlying causes of the barriers to implementation and develops a broad vision for redesigning the organization.Beer and Eisenstat uncovered these obstacles using a process they refined more than a decade ago called Organizational Fitness Profiling (OFP).
OFP helps CEOs or business unit general managers and their top teams assess how well an operation fits their espoused strategy and management principles.
Harvard Business School professor Michael Beer and consultant Russel A. Eisenstat developed and innovative process, the Organizational Fitness Profile (OFP), that can help corporate renewal, X-ray your organization, identify its weaknesses, and take corrective action.
development, and application of Organizational Fitness Profiling Johnson, Smith & Kinsley Award for best book in (with Russell Eisenstat and Bert Spector) “Organization Change and Development,” in Annual Review of Psychology, M.
Rosenzweig and L. Porter, eds., Annual Michael Beer. In their HBS working paper "Overcoming the 'Silent Killers' to Strategy Implementation and Organizational Learning," HBS professor Michael Beer and Russell A.
Eisenstat, president of the Center for Organizational Fitness, outline six barriers to implementing strategic plans. Beer and Eisenstat. The Organizational Fitness Navigator: Creating and concepts of organizational fitness and its profiling (OFP), and proposes the organizational organizational fitness (see Beer and Eisenstat, ; Beer, ) as a managerial system to manage organizational capabilities.
First, it reviews the challenges in creating and measuring. HBS Professor Michael Beer believes business success is a function of the fit between key organizational variables such as strategy, values, culture, employees, systems, organizational design, and the behavior of the senior management team.