EDGE 2020: ‘Customers notice implementation, not strategy’
- 23 September, 2020 18:15
Robin Speculand (Bridges Business Consultancy)
Amid the ongoing market uncertainty triggered by Covid-19, future partner success will be centred on striking a balance between the creation and implementation of customer strategies, cited as key to survival in 2021.
Hampered further by sporadic spending patterns and unreliable investment forecasts, executional excellence will help technology providers break free from the chasing channel pack, underpinned by a commitment to action rather than consultation alone.
“Implementation becomes even more important in a recession when working capitals are lower and the pressure from the board is higher,” he observed. “Leaders need to get the strategy and its implementation right the first time.”
As the market grapples with the continued economic impact of Covid-19, forward-thinking partners are building out strategies for future growth. Avoiding the desire to hunker down and wait for the pandemic to pass, proactive plans are forming to capture emerging customer opportunities, in addition to shaping a modern business blueprint.
Yet the ecosystem remains paralysed by inaction as partners meander from one theory to the next, heightening the need for revised end-user investment priorities at local level. But knowledge is no longer power, rather potential power. Today, power lies in execution.
Echoing the words of Steve Jobs, “ideas are worth nothing unless executed, execution is worth millions”, EDGE 2020 will move beyond ideas and into execution, side-stepping the ‘why’ to outline the ‘how’ aspect of change.
To achieve excellence in execution however, Speculand acknowledged that a different mindset is required from the channel.
“The notion of time as being linear and milestone-based needs to be replaced by a cyclical model,” he advised. “Strategy is viewed from 50,000 feet, but its implementation happens at ground level. Leaders are responsible for translating their big picture into short-term (90-day) actions.”
In a direct message to the partner ecosystem - amid the uncertainty of lockdown measures, government stimulus packages and customer budgets - Speculand said high partner performance during such a challenging period comes from both crafting strategy and executing it.
“Customers notice your implementation, not your strategy,” he cautioned. “If your strategy does not provide a competitive advantage then your implementation must."
Speculand will deliver exclusive insights during EDGE 2020, an invite-only virtual experience set for 10-11 November, playing host to the most influential business leaders in technology across Australia and New Zealand.
Underpinned by local research and insights, EDGE 2020 will outline local customer investment plans, upcoming end-user projects and new partner requirements, leveraging unique research and CIO brand insights.
In assessing the technology landscape, Speculand acknowledged that leaders have been well-coached on planning but seldom build momentum through implementation, creating a “strategy implementation skills gap” in the process.
“Successful implementation is not complex, but it does require discipline - a discipline many organisations are missing,” he said. “Strategy implementation will not succeed when it is viewed as an interruption to your job.”
After launching a new strategy, Speculand said the calendar of a leader needs to change to reflect the time that’s required to spend on the implementation.
“No matter how much information you communicate to people they still need assistance to interpret it correctly,” he added. “When you create the time to oversee the implementation journey and change your weekly agenda, employees sense your commitment. They are then more inclined to take the right actions.”
Alongside executive-level commitment, Speculand said leaders must also share implementation responsibility with the wider team, ensuring employee buy-in from the ground-up.
“Holding people accountable for implementation is one of the easiest, most powerful actions leaders can take,” he said. “If middle managers are not supported as the lynchpins of implementation, then it will fail.
“Brand your strategy by giving it an image so as to win over the hearts and minds of your employees. Without the right resources people will not be engaged. Without people engagement the implementation will fail.”