The secret to successful strategy activation

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

In the business world, we often measure ourselves by looking at whoever is at the top of the food chain. Interestingly, we admire the players at the apex as much as we plan to excel beyond what they are doing. To do so, we must look into what is behind these companies and their success.

Black-haired woman leads strategy team in a boardroom, showing excitement for successful strategy activation.

The role of people in strategy activation is crucial, as it is people who ultimately execute the plan.

Behind every successful business is a solid strategy. At the root of any strong strategy is a person or a team that puts in the time to think through what needs to happen and the best way to activate it.

Which brings us to the question: how do we define strategy activation?

Strategy activation is the process of putting a plan into action to achieve a goal or the objectives that are part of that goal.


Strategy activation has four critical steps:

  • Define the objective
  • Develop the plan
  • Implement the plan
  • Evaluate the results

People play a vital role in each of these steps. To define the objective, leaders must involve their team and get input (read: buy-in) on the company’s goals. Once the purpose is defined, it’s time to develop the plan. Creativity and exploration are needed to develop a strategy to achieve the objective.

Chartreusem blue and magenta circles and lines converge to form an arrow signifying aligned momentum.

After the strategic plan has been developed, it’s time to implement it. Without a supportive team to implement, even the best strategy will never have the chance to find out if it can achieve the goals it set out to. Ensuring alignment with the team implementing the strategy is crucial as they make execution decisions along the way. Leaders need to make sure that everyone understands the plan and knows their role in bringing it to reality. Communication is pivotal. Leaders need to be able to communicate the strategy in a way that inspires employees to take action. Furthermore, they must ensure everyone is on the same page by regularly communicating updates and monitoring progress.

Once the plan has been executed, involving the team in evaluating its results is essential. As individuals and as a team, this time of reflection allows everyone to connect the actions to the results. The crucial role in this step is employee feedback on how the project implementation went. Leaders need to understand what worked and didn’t, enabling them to adjust the plan for maximum effect and efficiency.

Given the impact, the role of people in strategy activation is clear: they are the secret to your success. Therefore, it is essential that leaders consult with their team, consider input from them, and make sure everyone understands how their individual roles contribute to the big picture. Only then can a strategy be successfully activated. And yes, the apex players in business know these things very well.

The truth about strategy activation is as simple as it gets. Only when the entire team is aligned and working together towards a common goal will the company succeed.

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

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