In these organizations, everyone had specific tasks as part of their job function. When we implemented strategy, each department responded by doing their role in the strategy execution.
Interestingly enough, each of these organizations had very independent silos where departments did not spend a lot of time talking with each other once the strategy went into the execution phase. Everyone already knew what to do.
During strategy development, heads of the separate departments would create interdepartmental teams to work out the strategy. In the execution phase, however, the teams worked on their specific departmental tasks. This process allowed each person to focus on that person’s job.
The rigidity was these silos was a matter of strict procedural direction. People in each department did what their job description instructed them to do. I was in sales. I never picked up the phone and called the marketing department or the research and development department.
However, these organizations had a communications system to move feedback to the right people. In the Navy, everything went through the commanding officer. It was the commanding officer’s job to direct the information to the correct department for execution.
To execute across departments, the head of each department would coordinate the their immediate supervisor, who was the ship’s number two in command, the executive officer.
The commanding officer also had an executive officer. This person’s job was to hold meetings with the head of each department or silo to keep critical, prompt execution on track and on schedule. However, the department heads did not speak directly with each other. This type of communication would have created complications in the communications system. The information would likely only reach the two departments but not reach the commanding officer who was directing the execution. Therefore, the department heads took all their communication back through the executive officer who supported the captain in making command execution decisions.
From strategy to execution: This management process saved time. In my role in sales, I did not spend time talking with other departments. I spent my time doing my job in the execution of the strategy.
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