Special event on Rethinking Strategy: Putting People back into Strategy

Monday, 08/10/2001

On the occasion of the visit of Professor Costas Markides, ALBA organized a special event for a select group of senior executives with special interest in Human Resources Management, in appreciation of their collaboration with ALBA. The event was also attended by members of the London Business School Greek Alumni Association.

In his speech entitled 'Rethinking Strategy: Putting People Back into Strategy', Costas Markides, after giving a definition of what strategy and strategic choices mean, suggested that, in order for strategic choices to be successfully implemented, organizations must ensure that the underlying organizational environment supports these choices; the basic elements of this environment are structure, culture, people and the incentives given by the company. Since it is difficult to keep all these elements together, due to continuous changes, the question is how to keep the system flexible. Flexibility means early recognition of changes, the willingness and the ability to change, by giving the freedom and necessary autonomy to people to respond and adjust.

According to Professor Markides, a firm cannot be flexible and ready to respond successfully to external changes unless all its people are involved in the process of ideas generation, experimentation, constant questioning, re-evaluation and modification of existing practices. In order to avoid chaos, certain parameters must be set, within which people will be free to operate: these parameters are, the major strategic decisions of the company, as well as its values, that should be few, simple, clear, and known by everybody. Nevertheless, unless people are emotionally committed, any strategy will fail; to ensure commitment, top management should be able to 'sell' the company's strategy to all its people. Reality shows that very few companies dare take that chance; the future belongs to those companies that do take it, not in a period of crisis, but by creating positive crisis in times of success.