“The main purpose of a functional strategy is to enable the company’s strategy – not to achieve functional excellence.”
The role of the functional leader is becoming increasingly challenging: Automation, outsourcing, increased competition, and process improvement have raised expectations for efficiency gains. More severely, functions are often the first ones to suffer from the incoherence of the company they’re in: With every part of the business having different capability priorities, functions face too many conflicting requests and end up stretched thin, unable to help the company build the type of competitive advantage it needs in order to succeed. And, with little guidance from the company as to what truly matters for success, many functions resort to benchmarking their activities against what other companies do and strive to build functional excellence – falling short of the strategic role they are often asked to play.
Instead of striving to be “best in class” in everything, functions need to focus on helping their functional organization become coherent and “fit for purpose” by changing their portfolio of activities to focus primarily on those that are strategically important to the company and help drive its distinctive value proposition.
At Strategy&, we help functional leaders take on a more strategic role while fulfilling their day-to-day transactional and expertise tasks. We do so by working with them on three interconnected elements:
Functional leaders need to fully understand the company’s strategy and work across the organization to align their functional capabilities with it. This approach can be a primary source of success not just for the function, but for the enterprise as a whole.
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