Understanding a realized strategy
The realized strategy of a firm contains two components: the deliberate component of the strategy and the emergent component of the strategy.
The deliberate component of a realized strategy
The deliberate component of a strategy is the part that is formulated and planned in advantage. It is what the firm intends to implement and has been given advanced consideration.
The emergent component of a realized strategy
On the other hand, the emergent component of the strategy is the part that was not planned. The emergent strategy component is the element where the firm has adapted the planned intended strategy. These adaptions may be because the firm recognized the need for change – potentially because of issues faced or because the reality was different from that expected, or the emergent component may simply be from strategic drift, where firms unconsciously make changes in the implementation stage without significant thought.
Final thoughts: The importance of recognizing how your strategy is being implemented
The fact that the realized strategy differs from the intended strategy is not necessarily a problem. There may be good reasons why the firm had changed its approach, potentially taking into account learnings through the implementation process.
However, changes to strategy in implementation – especially changes without advance consideration, may be less beneficial. The drift away from the intended strategy may result in decisions being made in the firm that are not consistent with one another. The company may start to lose focus, as the strategy gets ignored.
It is thus important that companies monitor the implementation process – ensuring that any deviations from the intended strategy are not a result of poor implementation. Being consciously aware of how the realized strategy is different from intended, and ensuring that these deviations are desirable, is important in making sure that the firm still has a unifying strategy.