Phase 5.2 – Article – Translating Strategy into Effective Implementation (Sterling)

Translating strategy into effective implementation: dispelling the myths and highlighting what works

You have heard this advice a hundred times – ‘‘effective implementation of an average strategy, beats mediocre implementation of a great strategy every time’’. Yet companies nonetheless often fail to operationalize their strategies in ways that improve the likelihood that they will be implemented effectively. A 1999 study (Corboy & O’Corrbui, Management Accounting) found that nearly 70 percent of strategic plans and strategies are never successfully implemented.

Arguably, many of the most commonly cited causes for implementation failure are either myths or excuses that have gained credibility from being repeated often (see Box, ‘‘Excuses for strategy failure: dispelling the myths’’). By discrediting the myths, we can more clearly look at a number of approaches that greatly enhance the effectiveness of strategy implementation. These suggested practices are supported by research and the experience of a number of effective CEOs interviewed for this article.

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