This article is about Technology

Strategy + Innovation: a great engine of results!

Paulo Henrique Bezerra

Published at
01 de October de 2020

Innovation + Strategy to see the future!

In the business context, 1 out of 10 companies reaches all programmed targets, and the 9 companies that fail have losses of 20% of the annual budget due to the gap between the strategy designed and the strategy effectively implemented.  These are summarized numbers from the "HBR Insight Center Report - The Gap Between Strategy and Execution Collection", a compilation of 25 articles from the "Harvard Business Review" of March / 18.

In this collection, some cases (successful or not) are exposed, and as of now I’m presenting the main lessons I learned about this compilation of knowledge.

I also make connections with our major theme, innovation!  Hope you like it!

Have principles and values

I divide this topic into 2 parts: the first is “Strategy Planning”, whether it is about innovation or not, which is the act of an interest group making choices about "where to play" and "how to win" at the various levels and parts of the organization or context chosen. The second is “Execution”, which is the act of bringing autonomy to those responsible for these choices, ensuring that people choose the best way to execute.

This balance can be achieved through practices, which can even change, be interrupted and altered, but the principles remain.  They are the (quint)essence of it all!  Plans are only intentions, unless they generate movement and work that creates value for those involved, whether suppliers, employees or customers.

Balance design and execution

It is essential to give the same importance to elaboration and execution, and that employees are in positions with realizable challenges so that it is possible to engage and recognize if positive results appear.  There are challenges during the unfolding of the strategy, such as the interpretation of the environmental context, the market, the definition of intermediate goals, the disaggregation of objectives, and the creation of learning mechanisms and correction of routes through returns obtained from customers, for example.  And innovation is to be able to balance all that, generating new results.

Promote intelligence and security in data usage

During the elaboration of the plan, it is necessary to use information about the parties involved in its context, mapping opportunities and threats, uncertainties and dependencies, incorporating ideas for the elaboration itself.  Using technology trends like automation; virtual or augmented reality; internet of things to predict organic consumer behavior; increased information security to ensure that people make the choice to share their data without necessarily feeling  invaded; can really enhance these practices.

Have the right people, empowered, and in the right places

In order for strategy and execution to be balanced, it is necessary to assign the appropriate deliveries to people.  Avoid task redundancies, segregating what is operation from what is the list of new projects, categorizing the challenges by specific knowledge and skills, giving autonomy based on a purpose for the teams, and remembering to recognize the executors.  A motivated person in the right role can bring incredible results by the power of doing what makes their heart beat faster.  Many motivated people in the right role can bring longevity and a strong culture for a long time. And in the end, people are the infinite fuel of innovation.

Monitor results and update plans

When the strategy is in progress, it is necessary to have a commitment that it will be followed, and people will be accountable of 100% of what was designed.  It is the so called "accountability”. The attitudes of discipline, accuracy and zeal are part of the work of those involved to guarantee this movement.  Top executives with firm ideas, added to accountability and a regular results monitoring and communication process also help in this context of innovation.

Prioritize and be simple

The world has reached a level of hyper-connectivity and complexity.  Given that, being simple and knowing how to prioritize are still essential.  This is the biggest problem encountered in the strategy unfolding process.  For this, you need a culture where there is low bureaucracy, and that it is possible to make quick decisions about opportunities and threats, where risks can be taken, but with a focus on the final goal of the strategy.

Focus, take chances and celebrate!

As a strategic leader, your goal is to support teams to stay focused and prioritize speed and simplicity.  It is essential to get genuine adherence from top and middle managers and involve them as champions of the strategy.  Promote a transparent culture and encourage business cooperation to keep your people motivated.

And take risks as well!  Make decisions quickly and remove obstacles so that you can move your organization toward its goals more quickly... even in times of uncertainty.  Even if mistakes do occur, learn how to use failure as a learning approach for your organization's growth and innovation context.  Now, if all goes well, always use recognition!  This generates confidence and motivation and creates a positive work culture.


To close this article, written with great care for you: do know that we are in times of volatility, uncertainty and complexities, so we are all learning all the time. To have a strategy is to be on the move.

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