Have you ever wondered what makes powerhouses like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Tesla tick when it comes to executing their grand strategies? While there might not be a one-size-fits-all answer, there are a few common traits of their success. Think of a trio: focus on customer experience, a goal for keeping things refreshingly simple, and commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation.
Let’s discuss the captivating tales of companies coming from different domains, all of whom have mastered the art of strategy execution with finesse.
Challenges on the Path to Successful Strategy Execution
One could make a strong case that the most urgent challenge confronting companies is, without a doubt, the gap that exists between strategy and its actual implementation. Among the distinct factors contributing to this divide, we often see issues related to:
- Strategic alignment
- Organizational culture
- Resistance to change
Let’s see how real companies respond to these and other challenges.
Successful Strategy Execution: Lessons Learned
An astonishing 70% of executives fail to follow their company's organizational strategy process. This is often due to misconceptions about the strategy's purpose, mistaking it for a financial performance report. Additionally, many find that the strategy lacks the ability to guide execution effectively. Below, we delve into how four companies meticulously aligned their strategies with successful execution. (Source: McKinsey)
1. Continuous Focus on Customers’ Needs and an Agile Organizational Culture on the Path to Triumphant Strategy Execution
As outlined in their company strategy message, Procter & Gamble is committed to “..constructive disruption and an agile and accountable organization structure” as leading strategies on their path toward sustainable growth and value creation. (Source: PGInvestor)
To achieve their strategic vision, P&G set out to build an expanding innovations portfolio and optimize the existing products. An essential component of this path was the underlined focus on customer experience and the ability to respond to customers’ changing needs.
Thanks to combining technology and human experience, the company managed to closely inspect its customer behavior flow with advertising algorithms, automated tests for digital shelf placement, and marketing strategies built around environmental sustainability. To put this into perspective, P&G spends $400 million on consumer research and nearly $2 billion annually on R&D to keep its innovations portfolio growing systematically. (Source: HBR)
These achievements are guided by an agile culture characterized by effective leadership, empowering individuals, and commitment to positive impact and sustainability. As a result, we see the largest consumer goods company in the world with net sales of 82 billion U.S. dollars worldwide for the fiscal year 2023. (Source: PGInvestor)
2. How Aligning Strategic, Tactical and Operational Levels Enabled Successful Digital Transformation
Over the last decade, digitalization and digital transformation efforts have become an unavoidable influence, greatly impacting the success of objectives. A successful digital strategy is one that is synchronized with the organizational strategy that aims to achieve the strategic goals. With such coherence, things start to take off.
This is what enabled the Brazilian technology player Boa Vista to launch its digital transformation initiative successfully. Some of the pitfalls along the way included siloed work, specific team formats, lack of visibility causing misalignment, miscommunication, and lack of cross-functional collaboration.
To align their strategic and operational goals across the company, they used a symbiosis of the Kanban management method along with the OKR goal-setting framework. Kanban practices helped establish an unmatched visibility of how work across hierarchy levels connected and contributed to the successful strategy execution. Additionally, the utilization of OKRs enabled them to monitor the alignment of team efforts with overarching company objectives, facilitating necessary adjustments when required.
To enhance the alignment between operations and strategic objectives, Boa Vista also implemented regular cadences to improve the flow of information throughout the organization. These opportunities yielded dual benefits, facilitating both alignment and constant monitoring of workflows while fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
3. Service Quality, Informed Prioritization and Decision-making Paving the Way toward Successful Strategy Execution
“I met with everyone and talked about our strategic plan, so we all be in line and on the same page on what our bank needs to achieve”
Tagil Green, Chief Strategy Officer at Bank Hapoalim (SME Strategy Consulting)
The Bank of Hapoalim, the largest bank in Israel, is currently implementing its goal of providing impactful, innovative, and fair banking by 2026. This goal is based on the successful execution of its growth strategy from 2021 to 2022. A key aspect of this new strategy was careful and detailed planning, which lasted over a year. This extensive planning involved thorough market research, consideration of global and Israeli economic trends, establishing benchmarks, and implementing changes in the organizational culture.
The main challenge was the service quality, which required improvement. Additionally, there was a need to tackle a traditional organizational culture and lack of alignment with the strategic goals. Another obstacle involved deciding which customer segments and products to focus on first.
To address these challenges and improve service, the strategic plan focuses on strengthening the bank’s leadership for retail and business customers. They set out to do that through a digital-first approach to improve the channels for communication with customers. An additional vital aspect of the plan involves:
- Creating a new division dedicated to streamlining internal processes.
- Achieving operational excellence.
- Providing better customer service.
(Source: Bank of Hapoalim)
4. Netflix’s Meticulous Response to Customer Preferences and Global Expansion
The success of Netflix’s strategy to go global is rooted in careful and gradual implementation. Utilizing data analytics and its willingness to take risks also contributed to its rapid growth.
Netflix’s journey toward becoming a global streaming service provider started with a closely observed expansion in Canada in 2010. The geographical proximity to the United States, as well as the close interest of the two audiences, allowed a successful strategy implementation and provided valuable lessons that the company used in its further internationalization plans.
What truly contributed to the expansion's success was acquiring country-specific insights and showing genuine adaptability to local culture. Incorporating local content and creating original material for both local and global audiences illustrate the meticulous execution of their strategy. (Source: HBR)
By fully embracing a customer-centric approach, the streaming platform successfully tackled its major obstacle: facing competition with established media giants and adapting to evolving consumer viewing habits. Being accessible in over 190 countries within just a little over a decade truly demonstrates the effectiveness of the international strategy that Netflix has put in place and firmly being truthful to its vision statement: “to entertain the world.”
With an Agility Mindset toward Success
Embracing customer-centric improvements across all levels, from conceptual to tactical, is the dominant, successful approach to executing strategies. Fueled by agility, businesses of diverse origins address the challenges of the day, continue to provide exceptional customer experiences, and solidify their success.
SEO & Content Creator Expert
Analytical. Driven by constant learning and knowledge. Fascinated by people's creativity. Admiration for intellectual property, copywriter and SEO. Passion for nature's beauty, comic books, pop art and cinema.