Using a Strategic Fitness Process: A First Step in Any Organizational Strategy


Using a Strategic Fitness Process

As organizations strive to meet complex economic changes in order to achieve higher competitive advantage, the discussion of strategy becomes the focus. Authors Beer & Eisenstat (2004) provide a concrete reality that can educate most any organization on how to implement strategies effectively. This requires leaders to look closely at possible obstacles, and fundamentally meet them by using a Strategic Fitness Process.

Obstacles & Solutions in Strategy Implementation

One of the largest obstacles in implementing a strategy is an organization’s inability to talk openly about past failures and increase transparency about this. One of the best ways to deal with this obstacle is to confront it head on; the most powerful way for leaders to realign their organization is to publicly confront the unvarnished truth about the barriers blocking strategy implementation. This involves looking closely at the roles and decision rights of various parts of the business, as well as changing the behavior of people at all levels. Beer & Eisenstat (2004) stress strategy implementation should be built on public, organization wide conversations about strategy, failures, and issues. Even though this can be challenging to managers and supervisors, it contributes to a species' survival by triggering learning and adaptation; it can have the same effect on organizations. Courage to face the truth is an ultimate solution!

Another obstacle is not having enough people at the table. Organizations need to be aware of the importance of the human capacity in creating the strategy, measuring the assets, and ultimately implementing the strategy. A conversation with all levels of employee conversation has to occur (Beer & Eisenstat, 2004). Stewart (2004) articulated one of the best ways to ensure a strategy implementation is successful is to start with Measuring the Strategic Readiness of Intangible Assets. Intangible assets is a two-sided sword, at human capital is both an obstacle and a solution. Organizations need to assess all levels of employee readiness, involvement, and skills prior to implementing a strategy. Any strategy needs a set of intangibles to reach it--a certain number of people skilled in cross-selling, information systems that can talk to each other, an organizational design that allows cross communication among all areas of employee skills. The conversation has to allow employees to be honest without risking their jobs.

Unstructured conversations can create issues in organizations. The conversation has to be structured to achieve honesty and full engagement (Beer & Eisenstat, 2004). Organizations at times hear “conversations” and hold public forums without a struct