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Strategy Execution by Ascend

15 March, 2018

What do we mean by Strategy Execution?

Strategy Execution means taking important strategic, tactical and operational decisions – and putting them into action. Making a function or organization change direction takes time and effort to succeed, and far too often companies fail in their efforts to successfully achieve the desired objectives and effects. To take the right decisions and actions, we need to understand what context your organization operates in along with identifying and addressing the challenges ahead to transform how the client operates and performs.

Ascend refers to Strategy Execution as #transformtoperform, since it is all about transforming structure, ways of working and behavior in order to improve results. 

What kind of Strategy Execution assignments do we do?

Improving efficiency while managing age transition in a factory
A manufacturing company is facing increased cost pressure. At the same time key competence is moving towards retirement. To address the challenge, our client mobilized a large number of initiatives, driven by each function in the organization. The effect of the initiatives within HR were limited. Ascend was by then engaged to assist the HR department to address the strategic challenges. By focusing multiple initiatives on a small segment of the organization, Ascend was able to prove the value of the initiative and thereby create a change momentum. Methods and tools were developed to enable the line organization to drive the change forward. The outcome of our support secured that the strategic challenges were met. 


Transforming from a traditional to a consultative sales approach
A pulp and paper company wanted to transform the sales organization from ad-hoc and reactive behavior to a proactive, value-driven and consultative part of the business. Sales representatives were using individually developed frameworks and techniques. As a result, the sales process was largely transactional with the customers focusing on price in sales discussions. A previous initiative within the sales organization had delivered the structure for customer segmentation, key account management etc, but not the structure for how to sell. Ascend, together with the client, delivered a customized Sales Process, containing useful tools and techniques that the sales representatives could utilize for each step in the sales process. In order to emphasize the learnings, and create sustainable behavioral change, Sales Simulations were used. In the Sales Simulations, Ascend and key stakeholders from the client roleplayed as customers in simulated customer meetings. The result and outcome for sales management was clear: “Conversations have changed. We are much more focusing on the customers and their needs, making sure that we truly understand their pains before talking about ourselves”. Following the transformation initiative, the client has realized a +50% growth in sales revenue.

Implementing a Sourcing Strategy for a global retailer
Our client is driving a global long-term expansion, both online and with new stores. Therefore, Group IT has had an exponential growth rate the last decade, increasing both own staff and number of vendors, creating a large and complex vendor landscape. The lack of a clear and common sourcing hampered overall performance and cost of IT services. Ascend was asked to develop and implement a customized sourcing strategy process and a sourcing model framework to clearly frame discussions and decisions. To embed the strategy and framework, a program was set up to develop sourcing processes and ways of working, roles and launch plan to bridge competence gaps. The outcome was an IT Sourcing Strategy along with agreed and applied processes, procedures and roles to achieve the desired targets and objectives.

What are the major success factors in Strategy Execution assignments?
At Ascend we believe in an including approach to Strategy Execution, as the success of an assignment depends on the sum of people working and living the new approach and behavior. In general, there are three major success factors in Strategy Execution:

1. Set a realistic ambition for change, bearing in mind the current capability of the organization. Having too steep goals will lead to a loss of momentum and drain confidence and energy from the transformation program

2. Set clear goals including quick wins, to ensure everyone is aware of the goal and ambition of the transformation. Quick wins will demonstrate early success of the transformation initiative and can be used to persuade stakeholders in doubt

3. Engage, engage, engage… ensure to work closely to stakeholders, especially those who will adhere to new ways of working, to identify and manage questions, comments and issues early. 

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