Strategy Implementation: Important Step for Success

Strategy implementation is an important step which determines overall success of a project and established goals and aims. The company under analysis is an import company dealing with the imports of edible oils from all over the world. The Nigerian market represents a business environment marked by cultural uniqueness and deep national traditions. Emphasis varies widely on such factors as structure, corporate culture, leadership, motivation and reward systems, and control systems.

Successful strategy implementation completes the long-sought linkage between strategy formulation and strategy implementation. Determining responsibilities, understanding environmental factors affecting customer net value, organizational capacity, and capability, and establishing managerial ownership of suprasystems eliminates the disjointedness that has characterized the formulation and implementation process (Gardiner, 2005). In the olive oils Import Company the whole management is involved in the business. It means that all levels and departments are responsible for strategy implementation and monitoring of changes and threats. The main requirement of strategy implementation is continuous contact with customers aimed to keep emergent strategy as closely tied to intended strategy as possible, especially if the customer’s environmental context is volatile (Cole1998). As a process, strategic management is usually assumed to be objective to the extent that the strategist takes an open systems view and addresses the concerns of all stakeholders.

The strategy implementation is engaged “on the fly” without jeopardizing current operations within the organization. Although space limitation precludes a full discussion of implementation, key elements, which increase the likelihood of success, are embodied in the following suggestions for the implementation:

  1. Emphasize the responsibility of managerial leaders for strategic systems,
  2. strategically focus on continuous creation of customer value,
  3. integrate the improvement efforts of managers,
  4. ensure the interdependence of the value determination and system management, and
  5. provide educational resources and assistance for managerial behavior change. Strategic implementation within the organizations like the olive oils import company are led by managerial leaders who attend to strategic systems that are intended to create value for customers (Drejer, 2002).

These systems are composed of interdependent patterns of activities that organizations use to assure desired outcomes, and include processes, functions, activities, tasks, and various material inputs. Managerial leaders go beyond the focus on the subordinate activities and processes within functions or within departments or subsystems. During the implementation stage, a special attention is given to subordinate managers, supervisors, and operators who undoubtedly focus on functional activities or processes or tasks in their work to improve suprasystems. However, the work of managerial leaders resides at a higher level and transcends the many boundaries that subdivide an organization (Dobson & Starkey 2004). Managers are typically ill equipped and inexperienced in the methodologies implied by the model’s cycles. The equipping and development of the manager’s personal competence and confidence must be established in the real setting of ongoing organization, demonstrating significant contributions to organizational success.

Strategy implementation takes place in all departments simultaneously. A special attention and controls introduced for marketing and human resource management departments (Moore, 2001). Although current managers may have never traced the origin of existing systems, the mandate for managerial leaders is to become masters of these strategic suprasystems, steering them toward organizational competitiveness in the creation of best net customer value. These suprasystems must not be taken for granted. Quite the contrary, they demand continuous attention, care, concern, and enhancement (Mintzberg et al 2004). The main factors of successful strategy implementation are confirmation, correction and change. Classic strategic management process models generally conclude with a feedback loop following the last component (evaluation and control).

Similarly, value-based strategic management includes confirmation of the effectiveness of strategic suprasystems management, correction of these suprasystems, and/or adaptation of suprasystems to maintain or regain the focus on net customer value. Following Whittington (2000) confirmation and correction are analyzed and evaluated using both external market performance data and internal firm financial performance data. Externally, the validity of assumptions, decisions, and actions must be continuously reexamined. Initial planning assumptions about vitality, viability, capacity, capability, and reciprocity should be tested for current and future validity. The original value attributes accepted as obligations and the resulting transfunctional system responsibilities must be reassessed. Resistance to change is leveled by training and support from the management (Pittengrew et al 2006). They must also personally engage in the activities of the implementation. Engaging in value determination will likely reveal more work than managerial leaders can possibly do by themselves.

The goal of these activities is to develop organizational culture that continuously creates value for the customer. Managers likely discover components of their suprasystems that actually detract from value by increasing the sacrifice required of the customer, for example, high product cost due to high overhead or high inventory costs. Therefore, managers should create viable suprasystems by putting in place value-enhancing components and, ideally, eliminating value-detracting components. The objective of this work is to improve the capacity of organizational suprasystems to create the best net value for the customer, which clearly exceeds that of competing alternatives (Thompson et al 2004).

In order to improve strategy implementation processes and faster change processes, the import company should involve managerial leaders in this process. Successful strategy implementation requires that the managerial leader’s fundamental and long-term responsibility be to identify the critical customer values to which managers must attend (Pittengrew et al 2006). These critical customer values offer clues in identifying the superordinate strategic systems. Since organizational resources are often limited, not all elements of value can be maximized. Determined customer value cannot be pursued outside the framework of organizational strategy. Priorities should be set to focus managerial efforts on achieving advantageous value creation. The chosen focus must integrate both organizational performance outcomes and customer value in formulating long-term strategy. Managerial leaders must also attend to the constraints and opportunities extended by various other organizational constituents, in the creation of value for the customers of their products and services. These constituents include broader society, employees, unions, governmental agencies, governing bodies, and other private and public institutions (Teece et al 1997).

In order to success, managerial leaders should bear the primary responsibility to engage in the activities of the strategy implementation cycle. Although they seek assistance with the task of value determination, under no circumstances are these activities to be delegated to subordinates or staff assistants (Cole, 1998). Value determination is conducted and led by those who have authority commensurate with the responsibility for determining the purposeful focus of the organization. Managerial leadership is present throughout the organization. Managers at various levels may assist in value determination and strategic system improvement. Determining what customers value may be complex, however. Customers may be varied and have conflicting values.

Therefore, active involvement in value determination at the highest managerial levels is important to ensure proper prioritization, and the integration of strategy and customer value. Personal involvement of managerial leaders creates awareness of and commitment to whatever is discovered about customer value (Pittengrew et al 2006). This means that they will have to engage other managers, perhaps subordinate managers, in the task of suprasystems management. Managerial leaders determine the focus of subordinate managers’ organizational suprasystems and subsystem work, and assign subordinated personal ownership to managers for the responsibility to improve these subsystems which are components of the organization. Instead of a mercenary role in conforming to internally defined job requirements, the firm’s employees, management, owners, and suppliers hold a self-imposed intent to provide for the value needs of customers now and to improve the firm’s capability to do so in the future (Whittington 2000).

In sum, strategy implementation should be seen as a paradigm shift which requires a radical reorientation of managerial thinking, role perception, behavior, methods, systems, and strategic focus. Organizational structural modifications may be required, but they are not to be treated as the panacea. Although this transformation process requires more than just education, it should begin with education. The purpose and nature of managerial leadership must be understood. Whether the educators are internal or external to the organization, they must familiarize themselves with the organizational architecture. The specific study of the organization’s situation, mission, vision, strategy, organization, managerial practices, and work content should precede formal classroom training. Informal contacts, site visits, and interviews of participant managers serve the purposes of gauging the commitment of the critical members of the hierarchy. This exposure to the organization is also important in building rapport, gaining permission to influence, getting to know the organizational and managerial people issues, and behaviorally and operationally baselining the organization with formal methodologies developed specifically for the assessment of managerial leadership.


Cole, G. A. 1998, Strategic Management. Thomson Learning.

Dobson, P., Starkey, K. 2004, The Strategic Management: Issues and Cases. Blackwell Publishing.

Drejer, A. 2002, Strategic Management and Core Competencies: Theory and Application. Quorum Books.

Gardiner, P. 2005, Project Management: A Strategic Planning Approach. Palgrave Macmillan.

Mintzberg, H., Lampel, J. B., Quinn, J. B., Ghoshal, S. 2004, The Strategy Process. Pearson Education.

Moore, J. L. 2001, Writers on Strategy and Strategic Management: Theory and Practice at Enterprise, Corporate, Business and Functional Levels. Penguin Books Ltd.

Pittengrew, A. M., Thomas, H. Whittington, R. 2006, Handbook of Strategy and Management. Sage Publications.

Teece, D. J., Pisano, G., and Shuen, A. 1997, ‘Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management’, Strategic Management Journal, 18: pp. 509-34.

Thompson, A.A., Stickland, III, A.J., Gambler, J. E. 2004, Crafting and Executing Strategy : The Quest for Competitive Advantage – Concepts and Casesby. McGraw-Hill/Irwin; 14 edition.

Whittington, R. 2000, What is Strategy and Does it matter?, Thomson, London.

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