Strategy Implementation: Key for Economic Development 

Apr 1, 2024 - 14:03
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Strategy Implementation: Key for Economic Development 

OPINION

Dr Emmanuel Ulayi

Issues and problems have always confronted society requiring strategies to resolve them.

Those who understand how to strategize will always survive; the ones who do not understand it and never care to learn about it will perish according to Sun Tzu in his book, The Art of War.

Indeed, no nation or organization grows or develops without implementing strategies designed to accomplish their development goals.

So,what then is strategy? Even though Sun Tzu's definition has set the pace for a better understanding of this concept. The absence of strategy or the inability to implement it could be considered as the major reason why many nations and organisations fail!

Nations rise or fall as a result of their Strategy and the discipline of their Leaders to implement it! The United Arab Emirates and Singapore are examples that show the results of a well designed plan implementing due to strong Leadership!

Harvard Business Review (HBR) defines strategy as “a clear set of choices that defines what the organization is going to do and what it's not going to do."

In the same vein, "it is a clear roadmap, consisting of a set of guiding principles or rules, that defines the actions people in business should take and not take) and the things they should prioritize (and not prioritize) to achieve desired goals. It is very important because the resources available to achieve these goals are usually limited."

Conversely, setting goals, determining actions and mobilizing resources is akin to strategy. Michael Porters calls out the importance of the will to implement pointing out that “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do." Buttressing Porter's submission, Morris Chang confirms " without strategy, execution is useless.without execution, strategy is useless." 

Nigeria's economic growth and development in the early 70's and 80's were anchored on well defined rolling plans and economic strategic blueprints that were carefully followed and implemented.

What then happened to those lofty political and economic ideas, that's a question for another day? 

The focus of this write up is to emphasize the importance of strategic planning towards organisational growth.

It is however important,to emphasize here that our experience as a nation is that proffering the right strategies have not been the issue but implementation.

Aptly put" In Nigeria planning has not been the problem but that of translating such plans, roadmap into realities.

To this end, the performance of Nigeria’s rolling plans since it's inception has been that of gaps in implementation and monitoring for results. The inconsistency of income from oil revenue which most of the rolling plan relied on could have sadly resulted in the failures of the plans in meetings developed goals.

The fiscal years 1996-97 experienced declining inflation rate from 29%to 8.5% with GDP showing a positive growth and exchange rates stability. 

The target then, was to ensure that by the year 2015, Nigeria would have come of age economically, socially and politically. There was therefore an urgent need to match planning targets in line with strategies earlier evolved within the limits of available resources.

How the Nation could not sustain these positive economic numbers and development indicators has been blamed on corruption, policy inconsistency, political instability, lack of will to implement reforms which now reflects in the poor state of the economy, high inflation rates and higher cost of living. This is the reality… Strategy is important so is the discipline to implement and monitor for impact! This is the pathway Nigeria should follow to catch up with the rest of the world who understand this and strong economic growth to prove this!

Emmanuel Ulayi, Ph.D, is an Economist and Analyst based in Calabar