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Changes within the new business landscape (often disruptive changes) are now an everyday occurrence. The result: the future can no longer be anticipated by simply extrapolating using current industry conditions. Another challenge is knowing how to align thinking and future actions. Interestingly enough, many organisations do not have a disciplined process that will enable them to address this challenge.

One of the major issues facing modern-day businesses is the lack of effective strategy implementation. Often, too much emphasis is placed on techniques and formal methods in strategy development, rather than on ensuring that brilliant ideas are implemented and that progress is made. Which begs the inevitable question: why is so little attention given to implementation?

The answer lies in the “boring” character of implementation, compared to the “sexy” side of innovation and creativity. However, this “boring” bit is an indispensable part of the new focus the dynamic nature of the new business landscape requires. Organisations need to focus on simultaneously addressing creativity, innovation and implementation.

The alignment of thinking and action
Implementation-based thinking (IBT) is a conceptual approach developed that focuses simultaneously on both creativity and the implementation of the strategy. IBT embraces systems-thinking and involves developing the ability to holistically address all the components of business strategy collectively, understand how these components are interrelated, and the likely impact of their relationships. Fundamental to the understanding of IBT is the alignment of both thinking, as an active process, and action as a result of this thinking process.

Senior managers often get lulled into believing that a well-conceived strategy communicated to the organisation automatically equates to successful implementation. The lack of a systems-thinking approach is often a major cause of failure in implementation. IBT embraces the principles and process of Action Learning, focusing simultaneously on both creativity and successful implementation, which is critical for success in a dynamic and constantly changing business environment.

How Action Learning can help
Action Learning enhances the way in which individuals and teams learn, by focusing on real-life organisational problems and complex tasks. It introduces new ways of thinking and developing skills through collective and individual action and reflection. Action learning is a powerful tool that can assist in management development in finding methodologies to solutions in response to constantly changing industry challenges.