Musa Makhunga Managing Director:HR Matters - Disobliging behaviour undermines strategy execution
Musa Makhunga Managing Director:HR Matters - Disobliging behaviour undermines strategy execution

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Musa Makhunga Managing Director:HR Matters - Disobliging behaviour undermines strategy execution


It’s that time of the year when individuals and organisations look back at the year that is just about ended to identify areas to focus on in the new one, resulting in many an organisation taking time out for strategy development and planning. For most individuals New Year’s resolutions are loosely made whilst for a select few, they too do take time out with their coaches to rigorously set clear goals for the year ahead.

These efforts result in welldocumented strategy plans developed on the back of tried and tested strategy formulation models. However, it is a wellresearched and documented fact that in the majority of cases these strategies do not see the light of day. Of all reasons advanced for this failure, which may include change in customer needs, technological advances, leadership and ownership, and resource constraints, the one that stands out, which is totally avoidable is culture in the form of disobliging behaviour and misaligned practices.

Given that strategy involves developing a view of the desired end, deciding on how to attain this in terms of systems and processes, ethical standards required for guaranteed success, goals and determining requisite actions to achieve goals, it is clear that success of strategy execution is dependent on supportive behaviour and practices. It is chiefly for this reason that organisations that are successful in strategy execution do so on the back of supportive behaviours and practices.

We understand that culture is shared patterns of behaviours and interactions which great organisations proactively define, develop, nurture and pay attention to. They understand their success hangs on how each person at every level of the organisation behaves and interacts with others on a day to day basis to attain strategic goals. It is these sets of behaviours and interactions, which if left unchecked, undermine the best of individual and organisation strategies.

Why do we allow behaviour and practices to undermine strategy execution? Is a question, many an individual or organisation ought to ask as influencing behaviours and altering interactions could be done with ease through effective leadership and efficient management. In most cases, the closest strategy sessions come to in discussing behaviour and practices, is when participants draw up a list of values required to underpin the strategy without delving into what behaviours and practices should be modified or adopted to ensure success. It is therefore not surprising that values are often not translated into to day-to-day behaviours.

If culture means shared patterns of behaviour one would expect that when people strategise, enough attention would be paid to defining a set of behaviours and practices that would support their strategy and critically assess and evaluate prevailing behaviours and interactions, which would help or hinder strategy execution success.

Once a set of shared behaviours are defined and agreed to, this has to be translated into everyday practices to the extent that it feels awkward for anyone to do otherwise. This is achieved through realising that no change in strategy would succeed where there is no simultaneous change in behaviour and practices.

If the environment is negative, ill disciplined and unsupportive there is no way any form of cutting edge strategy would succeed. This applies to individuals as well; great New Year’s resolutions require a certain set of behaviour and practices for success in implementation.

Practices are an integral part of behaviour in the sense that they inform attitude towards goals and objectives and thus influence the extent to which someone or a group of people would on their own face the rigours of strategy execution. Practices turn the theoretical strategy into an everyday reality for everyone. Practices include talent acquisition, development, remuneration, recognition, promotion, demotion (restorative), on/off boarding, and engagement, fair and lawful policies.

Like any other process designed to positively impact the bottom line, instilling a culture, as in behaviour and practices, which supports successful strategy execution requires serious investment in terms of time, resources, leadership and management commitment.

Generally, behaviours and practices if not modified and aligned to the new strategy, would kill it even before it is launched. Needless to say, with zero return on the investment made in crafting it. Strategy owes its flawless execution to individual and organisation behaviour and practices that are aligned and supportive of the new vision. 

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Musa Makhunga Managing Director:HR Matters - Disobliging behaviour undermines strategy execution

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