Strategy Implementation: The Levers of Change
Formulating a strategy requires skill and innovation. But that isn’t the hard part.
The critical stage between formulating a strategy and implementation is where strategy can become reality – or not. How do you turn a good idea into something that happens?
Successful implementation typically depends on understanding how the key change levers (organization structure, internal culture, and business processes) can best be used to bring about the desired outcomes.
Optimizing organizational structures is one lever Government agencies could use when adopting a new strategy. When trying to force a new strategy onto an outdated structure, even the most solid strategies can fail. For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Southern Border and Approaches Campaign is a Department-wide strategy to protect the country’s Southern border. To improve collaboration among agencies, DHS created a new structure – the Southern Border and Approaches Joint Task Forces. The three joint task forces, each with newly defined responsibilities and leadership, allow DHS to more effectively manage its Southern border strategy.
Changing an agency’s internal culture is also key when implementing a new strategy. For example, to support its Unity of Effort Initiative, DHS has taken steps to encourage an “engagement-supportive culture.” This includes the creation of an Employee Engagement Steering Committee and recognition of those that go above and beyond. Implementing cultural change to improve cohesiveness across all DHS agencies will be key in furthering Unity of Effort.
Finally, a Government agency must prepare the process being applied to its strategy. For example, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented a more intelligence-driven strategy and moved away from a “one size fits all” strategy for security screening at airports. To accomplish this, TSA now uses risk-based measures to improve the screening process. This shift in the screening process helps accomplish an overall strategy focusing on intelligence and risk.
These factors allow the Homeland Security community to successfully implement strategies that anticipate increasing threats and vulnerabilities by bringing similar efforts under common leadership, instilling mindsets of the right way to accomplish work, and implementing processes and controls to execute the work efficiently.