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An Important Understanding:  The Link Between Positioning Strategy and Operational Execution

An Important Understanding:  The Link Between Positioning Strategy and Operational Execution

Written by David M. Simpson, MBA, CPIM-F, CIRM, CSCP-F, CLTD-F, C.P.M., CPIM Master Instructor

Classical managerial functions revolve around commanding, planning, organization, coordination and control.  Simple words and simple concepts that can both lead and position organizations and adept leaders with opportunities to create distinctive competitive advantages. 

Living in the 21st century offers many advantages.  In most cases, our standards of health and standards of living have improved dramatically.  We are the direct beneficiaries of several thousand years of recorded history.  A historical perspective that shows us the diverse sides of our humanity. It also helps enlighten and clarify what has made both successful leaders and successful organizations in the past.  It offers in many cases, common themes.  Common themes demonstrating the need for insightful leadership, organizational focus, organizational planning, and the critical need for sustained resources.

In todays’ world, we have the insights from history and the use of contemporary managerial tools; tools in the form of managerial skills, knowledge, and abilities that complement our understanding of history.  Today we complement with an understanding of the generic performance objectives of quality, flexibility, dependability, speed and cost. When integrated with an understanding of strategic positioning strategies, it creates differentiated opportunities for leaders, service and manufacturing organizations.

Each and every day, opportunities come and go.  Some are seized and some are not.  Many are time sensitive and many are not. From an organizational and leadership perspective, how do we differentiate, how do we discriminate, when must we feel a sense of urgency? The answer comes from understanding strategic and operational concepts.

We exist because of our customers, customers who perceive a discernable value in our products or services. Our vision and mission statement define who we are, our customers, where we want to, or must go.  The developers of organizational strategy are charged with understanding these implied directives and defining paths to competitive advantage … in some cases, choosing between the well-trodden road and the road not taken.  

Some roads or roadmaps may be very difficult, where success is aggressively challenged each and every day. Irrespective of the path’s resistance, there are contemporary managerial tools, a toolbox per se, to assist.  Understanding what it takes on a daily basis, in the form of operational measures, and in the form of execution and control, contributes to sustaining the elected path, supports the strategies, and assists in satisfying the needs and expectations of our customers.

Thinking strategically, then defining and linking operational measures that can be measured and managed on a day-to-day basis, not only supports the path, but it also sustains operationally, the organization’s strategy, and ultimately the needs and expectations of the value chain and our customers.

Understanding and utilizing our generic performance objectives, specifically, quality, reliability, dependability, speed and cost, and directly linking those performance characteristics to the achievement of measured and controlled objectives, ultimately connects the day-to-day operational efforts to the satisfaction of our chosen customers and the successful execution of our elected competitive positioning strategy.