Activating Strategy

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Activating Strategy

Activating Strategy

Activating Strategy

Activation is the process of stimulating an activity -so that it is undertaken effectively. Activating Strategy is required because only a very small group of people is involved in strategy
formulation while its implementation involves a large number of people in the organisation. So long as a strategy is not activated, it remains in the mind of strategists. Activating Strategy or set of strategies requires the performance of following activities:
1. Institutionalisation of strategy,
2. Formulation of derivative-plans and programmes,
3. Translation of general objectives into specific objectives. and
4. Resource mobilisation and allocation.

1. Institutionalisation Of Strategy

The first basic role of the strategist in strategy implementation is the institutionalisation of the strategy. Since strategy does not become either acceptable or effective by virtue of being well designed and clearly announced, the successful implementation of the strategy requires that the leader acts as its promoter and defender. Often what happens is that leader’s role is quite prominent in strategy formulation and his personality variables become influential factors in the strategy formulation. Thus, in practice, it becomes an almost personal strategy of the top man in the organisation. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the institutionalisation of the strategy because, without it, the strategy is subject to being undermined. Institutionalisation of the strategy involves two elements:
· Communication of strategy to organisational members and
· Getting acceptance of strategy by these members. [ Activating Strategy ]

Strategy Communication

The role of a strategist is not only to make the fundamental analytical and entrepreneurial decisions, but also to present these to the members of the organisation in a way that appeals to
them and brings their support. Thus, in order to get the strategy accepted and, consequently, implemented requires its communication.
The form of communication may be oral through the interaction among strategist and other persons, particularly at a higher level in meetings or in other ways of personal interaction. However, for a large organisation with multi-locational units, such a form of communication may not be adequate, and well documented written form may be required. Such a document may contain (i) the context in which the particular strategy has been formulated like organizational mission and objectives, environmental variables, and organizational variables: (ii) contents of the strategy such as the contribution of the strategy to the achievement of organizational objectives, changes required in existing organizational processes, and what is expected from personnel at different levels in the organization. Given below is an example of how BHEL (a multi-unit public sector company) communicated its strategy (Exhibit ). [ Activating Strategy ]
Exhibit: BHEL’s Growth Perspectives
BHEL published a 24-page document titled ‘BHEL’s Growth Perspectives in the 1980s’ in April 1982 as a communication from its chief executive, K.L. Puri to the employees of the company. The contents of the documents were as follows:
1. BHEL’s objectives;
2. Business opportunities and threats-macro environment and sector-wise (thermal. hydro, transmission. and transportation) analysis;
3. Directions for business development (sector-wise and exports);
4. Resources mobilisation (human. financial. and technological);5. Research and development;
6. Achieving the targets; and
7. Present activity profile of BHEL

Strategy Acceptance

It is not just sufficient to communicate the context and content of a strategy but to get the willing acceptance of those who. are responsible for its implementation. This will make organisational members to develop a positive attitude towards the strategy. This helps them to make a commitment to strategy by treating it their own strategy than imposed by others.
Creation of such a feeling is essential for the effective implementation of the strategy.
A major problem in strategy acceptance is that people often resist a strategy, particularly when it makes a significant departure from the old-established practices. The basic reason of resistance emerges from the feeling that the new way of doing things will put them in some adverse situation. For example, many of the modernization strategies have been opposed by trade unions because of their perception that these would put an additional workload on their members or there may be job cuts. Many of the disinvestment and divestment strategies have also been opposed by employees of all sorts and these strategies could not be implemented in many cases. Though the problem of overcoming such a resistance will be discussed in the last chapter of this part, here it may be emphasised that strategy acceptance is a prerequisite for its effective implementation. [ Activating Strategy ]

2. Formulation of Derivative Plans and Programmes

Once the strategy is institutionalised through its communication and acceptance, the organisation may proceed to formulate action plans and programmes. Since these plans and programmes are derived from a strategic choice (strategic plan), these are known as derivative plans and programmes.

Action Plans

Action plans target at the most effective utilisation of resources in an organisation so that objectives are achieved. These action plans may be of several types like a plan for procuring a new plant, developing a new product, and so .on. What types of the action plan will be formulated in the organisation would depend on the nature of its strategy under implementation, for example, action plans in a takeover strategy would be different from expansion through undertaking green-field projects. However, while formulating action plans, follow-questions should be put so that action plans contribute positively in strategy implementation:
1. How does the particular action plan contribute to the objectives of the strategy?
2. When will the activities devised under an action plan be undertaken?
3. Who will perform the activities?
4. What support will be needed to perform those activities?

Programmes

A programme is a single-use plan that covers relatively a large set of activities and specifies major steps, their order and timing, and responsibility for each step. There may be several programmes in an organisation; some of them being major, others being minor. These programmes are generally supported by necessary capital and operating budgets. For example, in the case of a takeover strategy, two types of costs are involved: price to be paid for takeover and operating cost involved in takeover process. Further, the activities of the takeover are identified and sequence and timing of performance of these activities are also determined so that takeover programme is completed well in time. Since there may be various programmes involved in the implementation of a strategy, these should be well coordinated so that each of them contributes positively to others. [ Activating Strategy ]