5 Real-Life Examples of Effective Strategy Implementation

Gain insights from 5 real-life examples where strategic implementation transformed businesses significantly. Contact us for more information!
5 Real-Life Examples of Effective Strategy Implementation
Gain insights from 5 real-life examples where strategic implementation transformed businesses significantly. Contact us for more information!

Every organization must make a big strategy shift at some point or another to stay at the forefront of its industry. In some cases, a big strategic change may also be necessary to simply survive. Successfully shaping and executing a new strategy is challenging, but there are a few standout examples we can all learn from.

ClearPoint Strategy provides tools that can make this process more efficient and measurable, ensuring that strategies are not only planned but also successfully implemented.

See ClearPoint Strategy in action! Click here to watch a quick DEMO on the software

Here are 5 companies with good strategy execution, coming from different markets and industry positions.

1. The City of Germantown, Tennessee

TL;DR

  • Their approach transformation: They transitioned to a corporate model and treated citizens as customers and municipal services as market offerings.
  • Their vision crafting: They developed "Germantown Forward 2030" through a collaborative process that involved input from over 200 citizens.
  • How they achieved success: By consistently monitoring and transparently communicating progress, Germantown enhanced its operational efficiency and received prestigious national recognition.

The City of Germantown took a unique approach to planning and strategy execution because it chose to follow a corporate framework versus a more traditional local government model. The city views its citizens as customers, staff as teams, and operations as goods and services.

This shift in thinking came about in 2015 after city administrators read the book, “We Don’t Make Widgets: Overcoming the Myths that Keep Government from Radically Improving.” The general idea is to build and successfully execute a strategy around what citizens want, focusing on outcomes. For example, citizens don’t want a bigger police force; they want whatever ensures a safe community and low crime rate.

The city’s first step in taking a “for-profit” approach to organizational strategy was to create the “Germantown Forward 2030” vision. The 2030 vision was built over a methodical, one-year process by a 30-person steering committee and incorporated input from more than 200 citizens. Once the vision was finalized, a citizen task force created a measurable, actionable strategic plan with objectives, projects, and performance measures.

Every quarter, Germantown’s city administrator meets with department directors to review progress and results, which are then shared publicly with citizens via a community dashboard built by ClearPoint Strategy. Strategic planning isn't always easy, but the City found great ways to overcome the biggest pain points in the process to achieve success.

Over the past four years, Germantown has seen success with this approach to planning and strategy execution. The city operates more efficiently and cost-effectively, and there is greater transparency both internally and externally on goal progress. The results have been so positive that Germantown won a 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The city is one of only four municipalities nationwide to have ever earned this presidential-level honor, which is the highest level of recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive.

ClearPoint Strategy supports such public sector initiatives by providing robust tools for strategic planning and community engagement, tracking progress transparently.

2. Best Buy

TL;DR

  • How they revitalized retail: They reinvented their business model, focusing on enhancing the customer experience and competing effectively in the digital age.
  • Their strategic initiatives: Best Buy launched the Renew Blue strategy, emphasizing customer service, employee engagement, and partnerships with tech giants.
  • Their success Metrics: The strategy led to sustained sales growth, improved profitability, and increased customer and employee satisfaction, marking a significant turnaround for the company.

Best Buy is an ideal example of a company that completely reinvented itself and found the secrets to successful strategy execution. In 2012, Best Buy had plummeting profits, sales, and stock prices. It had lost relevance and was failing to compete with Amazon.

In a last-ditch effort to survive, the company hired Hubert Joly as its CEO. Joly proved to be a visionary leader, most notably for launching Best Buy’s Renew Blue transformation strategy. Here are the five key goals of the strategy, including some of the most successfully executed initiatives for each:

  • Reinvigorate the customer experience. Best Buy implemented a price-match policy, improved the online and in-store shopping experiences, offered free in-home technology consultations, and provided 24/7 customer tech support.
  • Attract “transformational business leaders” and energize employees. The company enhanced employee training, expanded employee benefits, provided paid time off for part-time workers, and offered backup child care.
  • Work with vendors to innovate and drive value. The company invited leading technology brands to create their own in-store kiosks and established a groundbreaking partnership with Amazon to sell Amazon Fire TVs.
  • Increase the company’s return on invested capital by growing revenue and efficiency. Best Buy shut down stores, exited geographic regions, and cut administrative and non-product costs.
  • Make the world a better place through recycling efforts and giving people access to technology. Best Buy significantly reduced its carbon footprint and introduced the largest consumer electronics recycling program in the U.S.

The Renew Blue strategy planning and execution has been an unheralded success. When Joly transitioned from CEO to executive chairman in June 2019, Best Buy had five consecutive years of comparable sales growth, increased its non-GAAP operating income rate, achieved $1.9 billion in cost savings and efficiencies, improved profitability and shareholder return, increased its Net Promoter Score, and hit record-low employee turnover rates.

By using strategic tools like ClearPoint Strategy, companies can monitor such comprehensive transformations in real-time, ensuring that every strategic initiative is aligned with corporate goals.

Claim your FREE 41-page Strategy Execution Toolkit for enhanced strategic performance

3. Origin Bank

TL;DR

  • Their strategic overhaul: They discarded their old strategic plan in favor of a new, data-driven approach that emphasized innovation and market responsiveness.
  • Their strategy execution process: Origin Bank adopted a detailed "waterfall" strategy, breaking down broad goals into specific, actionable steps.
  • Banking on results: Their new strategy enhanced profitability and customer service, showcasing the bank's adaptability and forward-thinking approach.

In 2017, Origin Bank realized it was losing traction in the market and wasn’t keeping up with the banking industry’s pace of innovation. The bank decided to completely scrap its strategic plan and start fresh with a new strategy that focused on:

  • Consolidating strategic priorities
  • Aligning the vision and strategy
  • Analyzing results with data—primarily, metrics tied to strategic outcomes
  • Reviewing past performance and predicting future performance
  • Gaining leadership buy-in

Using these guidelines, Origin Bank began its strategy execution process by whiteboarding its high-level goals. From there, it became a “waterfall” approach where goals were broken down into objectives, objectives divided into projects, and projects into action items. Origin Bank also developed measures to track progress for each of those waterfall elements.

Companies with good strategy execution always take this next step, too: developing a reporting process to consistently monitor and evaluate performance. Origin Bank established three meetings, each with a distinct purpose, to be held each quarter. The focus of the meetings ranges from a general performance overview of the strategy to detailed “red alerts” indicating where strategic elements are off track. Every quarter after the meetings, proposed changes to the strategy are presented to Origin Bank’s board of directors for approval.

Changing its strategy has helped Origin Bank increase its profits and customer service levels. Overall, the bank has been able to take an innovative approach to its operations with a strategic plan that reflects its vision, includes more accountability and collaboration, centralizes strategy execution management, and requires all changes to be vetted through a “decision tree.”

With ClearPoint Strategy, financial institutions can manage and track their strategic execution, ensuring alignment across all levels of the organization.

See ClearPoint Strategy in action! Click here to watch our quick 6-minute demo

4. IBM

TL;DR

  • Pivoting to services: IBM shifted from a hardware-centric model to a service-oriented approach, focusing on holistic solutions for clients.
  • Their strategic transformation: Under Louis Gerstner's leadership, IBM revamped its corporate strategy, aligning employee incentives with company performance and streamlining operations.
  • The turnaround triumph: This strategic pivot is celebrated as one of the greatest corporate turnarounds, with IBM achieving substantial growth in income, revenue, and market value.

In the 1980s, IBM was the dominant technology brand, with sky-high revenue and market share. But the company failed to evolve along with customers’ computing needs, and it became siloed and dependent on hardware sales. IBM’s power position eroded over the next decade, culminating with the announcement of an $8 billion second-quarter loss in 1993 (the largest in corporate America’s history at the time).

Louis Gerstner, brought on as IBM’s CEO in 1993, led the company’s transformational shift from products to services. In essence, IBM changed its strategy from being a multinational technology provider to a holistic, shared-services partner. Core elements of the strategy were to:

  • Offer the best technology stack to clients (even if it included competitor products) versus pushing standalone hardware sales.
  • Tie employees’ pay to company performance (versus department performance).
  • Consolidate marketing and branding efforts under one agency, instead of 40+ agencies.
  • Standardize processes and reporting procedures for all internal functions and consolidate those activities in key centers.
  • Divest low-growth, low-margin product lines and technologies (e.g. memory chips, printers, personal computers, etc.).

IBM’s new strategy worked and is hailed as one of the greatest corporate turnarounds of all time. IBM quickly proved that the services business was more viable than hardware product sales, successfully diversifying its offerings and investing in strategic growth areas. During Gerstner’s tenure from 1993-2001, the company increased its income from $3 billion to $7.7 billion, revenue from $64 billion to $86 billion, and stock market value to $180 billion.

Tools offered by ClearPoint Strategy can aid such significant transformations by aligning company-wide efforts and resources effectively.

5. Cobb EMC

TL;DR

  • Their strategic realignment: Cobb EMC redefined its strategy to better align with organizational goals and values, focusing on operational efficiency and community engagement.
  • Their implementation and innovation: They introduced project-based operations and the "Idea Machine" for employee feedback, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Empowering success: The new strategy led to significant cost savings, reduced rates for customers, and increased charitable contributions, alongside boosting employee morale.

Cobb EMC, a not-for-profit electric cooperative, made a distinct strategy shift in 2014 after consistently underperforming and failing to achieve key goals. There was a lack of alignment across the organization, with no clarity on whether they were making progress on the strategy and aligning departments to corporate results.

Cobb EMC deliberately and thoughtfully formed a new strategy that would play out over the next few years:

  • 2014: The board of directors and senior leadership completed a SWOT analysis, using it to develop new strategic goals and update the company’s core values.
  • 2015: Leadership reviewed the strategic goals and aligned them with company objectives. Cobb EMC also brought in a consulting group to complete another, more extensive SWOT analysis.
  • 2017: Cobb EMC consolidated all strategy-related data, creating scorecards for goals at the department, division, and corporate levels.
  • 2018: Newly appointed CEO Peter Heintzelman increased the company’s focus on project-based operations, dedicating resources to align department-level projects to organization-level strategies. The “Idea Machine” is introduced, allowing Cobb EMC staff to anonymously submit feedback and suggestions to leadership.

Taking these steps to create a new strategy was hugely beneficial to Cobb EMC. The company had centralized, real-time data for the first time and created its first three-year strategic plan that closely aligned departmental projects and corporate goals. Within two years of executing its plan, Cobb EMC was able to uncover new operational efficiencies and cost savings: The company saved $8 million through restructuring, lowered utility rates by $5 million for its customers, and gave $1.3 million to charity. Additionally, Cobb EMC was able to increase staff morale levels throughout these significant changes.

ClearPoint Strategy provides platforms that facilitate such strategic alignment and execution, enhancing both internal and external transparency.

From Planning to Performance: The Power of Strategy Execution

Whether the goal is to stay at the front of the pack or avoid extinction, strategy shifts are critical for organizations in every industry. As you’ve read, this process can take many forms—what’s most important is that you execute the new strategy you carefully created.

Get your FREE eBook on 8 effective strategic planning templates here

The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution

Successful strategy execution is not just about what you do, but how you do it. The key lies in aligning your organization's culture, resources, and processes with your strategic goals. Regularly monitoring progress, adapting to feedback, and maintaining clear communication channels are also crucial to turning strategic plans into tangible outcomes.

By integrating these key principles, your company can achieve its strategic goals and foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. Discover how to elevate your strategy execution by exploring the 5 secrets of strategy execution. This guide could be the catalyst your organization needs to refine its execution approach and secure a competitive edge in your industry.

The Components of Effective Strategy Execution

Effective strategy execution is built on a foundation of clear objectives, precise planning, and robust communication. It involves:

1. Strategic clarity and commitment: Ensure that every member of the organization understands the strategic goals and their role in achieving them. Secure commitment from all decision-makers and stakeholders to align efforts and foster a unified approach to execution.

2. Alignment of resources and roles: Align jobs, resources, and processes with the strategic objectives to ensure cohesive movement towards the goals. Design roles and responsibilities to optimize performance in line with the strategy.

3. Effective communication and engagement: Maintain clear and continuous communication to empower employees with the knowledge of how their work contributes to the broader strategy. Foster a culture of engagement and motivation, celebrating milestones and encouraging team involvement in the strategic journey.

4. Execution framework and adaptability: Implement a structured approach to execution, like the "waterfall" method, to break down strategic goals into actionable steps. Regularly monitor progress using key performance indicators (KPIs) and be prepared to adapt the strategy based on performance data and evolving circumstances. Use a tool like ClearPoint Strategy to enhance strategy execution. ClearPoint Strategy is a comprehensive platform for aligning goals, tracking progress, and adapting plans based on real-time data and insights.

5. Balancing innovation with control: Encourage innovation and experimentation within the framework of the strategic plan, allowing for creativity while maintaining focus on the strategic objectives. Develop processes to evaluate and integrate new ideas and opportunities, ensuring they contribute positively to the strategic goals.

Elevate Your Strategy Execution with ClearPoint Strategy

Ready to transform your strategic vision into impactful results? Discover how ClearPoint Strategy can revolutionize your approach to strategy execution. With ClearPoint, you can seamlessly align your goals, monitor progress with real-time insights, and adapt your strategy to meet the ever-changing demands of your industry.

Don't let your strategic plans fall by the wayside. Book a free trial of ClearPoint Strategy today!

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FAQ:

How do you measure strategy implementation?

To measure strategy implementation:

- Define KPIs: Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with strategic goals.
- Set Milestones: Break down the strategy into specific, measurable milestones.
- Use Dashboards: Implement performance dashboards to track progress in real-time.
- Regular Reviews: Conduct regular progress reviews and status meetings.
- Feedback Mechanisms: Gather feedback from stakeholders to assess effectiveness.
- Benchmarking: Compare performance against industry standards or past performance.

Why is strategy implementation important?

Strategy implementation is important because:

- Achieves Goals: Translates strategic plans into actionable steps, ensuring goals are met.
- Aligns Resources: Ensures resources are utilized efficiently to support strategic objectives.
- Enhances Accountability: Holds individuals and teams accountable for delivering results.
- Improves Performance: Drives continuous improvement through regular monitoring and adjustments.
- Maintains Focus: Keeps the organization focused on long-term objectives despite short-term challenges.
- Facilitates Change: Helps the organization adapt to changes in the market or environment.

What is the strategy implementation process?

The strategy implementation process includes:

- Define Objectives: Clearly articulate the goals and objectives of the strategy.
- Develop Action Plans: Create detailed plans outlining the steps needed to achieve the objectives.
- Allocate Resources: Ensure necessary resources (financial, human, technological) are available.
- Communicate: Share the strategy and action plans with all stakeholders to ensure understanding and buy-in.
- Execute: Implement the action plans, following the defined steps and timelines.
- Monitor and Review: Regularly track progress, measure performance against KPIs, and adjust plans as needed.

Why does strategy implementation fail?

Strategy implementation fails due to:

- Lack of Clear Objectives: Undefined or vague goals lead to confusion and misalignment.
- Poor Communication: Failure to communicate the strategy effectively to stakeholders.
- Inadequate Resources: Insufficient allocation of financial, human, or technological resources.
- Resistance to Change: Organizational culture and employee resistance hinder implementation.
- Lack of Accountability: No clear ownership or accountability for executing the strategy.
- Insufficient Monitoring: Failure to regularly track progress and adjust plans accordingly.

Who is responsible for strategy implementation?

Responsibility for strategy implementation typically involves:

- Executive Leadership: Sets the strategic direction and ensures alignment across the organization.
- Middle Management: Translates strategic goals into operational plans and oversees execution.
- Project Managers: Manage specific initiatives and projects that support the strategy.
- Employees: Execute the tasks and activities outlined in the action plans.
- Strategy Office: In larger organizations, a dedicated strategy office may coordinate and monitor implementation efforts.
- Stakeholders: Provide input, support, and feedback to ensure successful implementation.

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5 Real-Life Examples of Effective Strategy Implementation

Shannon Ledwith

Sales Operations Associate & Sunset Lover

Shannon works with the Sales Team to generate high quality leads and provide insights on market trends.

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