SELECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION CAN BE AS BAD AS NO IMPLEMENTATION
Shall we continue with the political stories in the vein established earlier in the week? Yes, I think so!
Some years ago the Labor Government in Australia engaged Ken Henry to undertake a review of Australia’s tax system and develop a strategy for making it fairer and more efficient. They gave Dr Henry all the resources and authority to undertake the research and develop the strategy. The government then set about implementing the politically palatable elements and ignoring the rest.
This is of course not a situation unique to the Labor government or indeed any one government. They ALL do it and there are many examples of the current Liberal Government commissioning reports and strategies and then ignoring them. The Commission of Audit springs to mind.
It seems very strange indeed to me to commission the best person or group for a project, give them the required resources and authority and then ignore them when you are frightened that implementing some elements of what they recommend may upset some groups in the community or cause you some pain.
Of course this scenario is also repeated all too often in business and indeed in the development and implementation of marketing strategies. All too many marketing strategies are selectively implemented and half-heartedly implemented – perhaps following a budget down grade – or a lukewarm response from some quarters of the businesses – or worse still (in an experience I have had more than once) a discussion the CEO has with his or her partner.
The ramifications of this approach are often substantial. People are still asking why the taxation system has not been fixed and why the budget has not been brought under control – while chief executives who have diluted a strategy are pointing a finger at the marketing manager and asking – ‘what went wrong?’
Now I am not suggesting that strategies or recommendations should be accepted out of hand or as a matter of course. What I am suggesting is that before a strategy is finalised:
- The right person should be engaged to do it and the parameters should be absolutely clear.
- The resources and authority are given to prepare the recommendations or strategy.
- There is ample opportunity provided along the way to discuss progress and review all controversial issues in detail.
- The person drafting the strategy is given the authority to note when the parameters are too limiting and the desired outcomes cannot be achieved.
- All issues are resolved and agreed before the final report is presented.
Then – the strategy should be fully implemented and the person drafting it should be held accountable for the progress towards the agreed objectives – as specified in the documents.
Politicians are generally gutless – but business people should not be.
Strategic planning is central to the success of any business and strategies that are no fully implemented can be worse than no strategy at all. That is not to say that strategies should be set in stone. They should not. Monitoring and fine tuning should be provided for in the strategy.