Strategy Management at Tesco

One of my regular alignment exercises is to tie planned investments to SAP’s strategy (see Jonathan Becher‘s Strategy vs. Planning post here).  As he notes: “[T]he budget isn’t really the plan; instead it’s how you intend to invest to achieve your objectives.”

As I look forward to 2009 planning next week, I was inspired and challenged by this Harvard Business Online post (here) by Robert Kaplan on Tesco’s approach to strategy management.  The specifics of Tesco’s balanced scorecard approach were interesting enough.  However, there were two points and a set of questions that stood out beyond the mechanics of the scorecard:

How can you keep distributed frontline employees–regardless of industry–engaged with and acting on the company’s central strategy?  [Tesco CEO Sir Terry] Leahy explained his approach: “Tesco doesn’t want one leader. We want thousands of leaders who take initiative to execute the strategy.”  

[B]ecause… all employees are aware of and can act on the strategy… Tesco filled 3,500 management positions, 27 directors, 200 store managers, and 8,000 department heads by promoting from within….

Note the connection drawn between the vision of distributed leadership and a concrete demonstration of how such leadership benefits both Tesco and its associates.  If I want the benefits of that vision, I better be ready with answers to the two questions I mentioned:

Is your company’s strategy being adequately communicated to and acted upon by all employees?  Can each employee explain the business unit strategy and how he or she contributes each day to implementing the strategy?

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One Response

  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

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