Implementing Reforms | Daily News

Implementing Reforms

Most articles in this series have identified that increasing FDI and exports are the key pillars of achieving sustainable economic development. The article of January 21, 2023, identified areas of probable growth in the global economy. This growth would take place even within the context of a global recession as they are areas that are driving growth of a new economic cycle. ( Some of the key areas that were identified as ones that Sri Lanka should venture into are Renewable Energy (RE), mobility, IT/data science and AI, tourism, organic agriculture and exploiting our recently found oil and gas reserves.

Implementing Strategy

Reproduced is a model to evaluate implementation of strategy that is available within the public domain. The model is self-explanatory and similar models are used successfully in the corporate world. By using it here I am hoping it will give the reader a lens to evaluate if strategy is being implemented well.

Commit to Strategy Plan

The president has clearly articulated his broad-brush stroke strategy to revive the nation’s economy. Most economic commentators would agree with the President’s plan. However, to commit to this plan, he requires the consensus of the executive and legislative arms of the Government.

Align Jobs to Strategy

If there is no consensus towards a strategy, aligning jobs to the strategy would be very difficult. To make matters even worse, whilst there are some eminently capable professionals who have been granted key executive appointments and entrusted with the role of strategy implementation, some appointments do not warrant such confidence. This again will impede the alignment of strategy and the President’s ability to drive implementation.

Communicate with Employees

Again, given the lack of strategy consensus, the ability to communicate openly regarding macro strategies with implementation teams becomes impossible. If the strategy is communicated in vague and opaque terms the goal remains unclear and does not allow all stakeholders to commit fully. For example, the goal of the strategy may be privatisation however, as this may not get the full buy in of the Cabinet and Parliament it is communicated as an employee share ownership scheme with a small shareholding sold to a strategic partner.

Measure and Monitor Performance

Every year, the Sri Lankan Minister of Finance reads his budget. There is never a measure of performance of the previous budget.

The budget is not made out identifying clear measurables. It is often a vague strategy outline, and not a plan set out to drive implementation.

Balance Innovation and Control

In management strategy a manager must be given enough ability to innovate to enable him to deliver the result that has been entrusted. However, there should also be in place some control to ensure he doesn’t lose focus.

Successful Strategy Implementation

The Minister of Finance (MoF) , the Secretary to the Treasury (ST) and the Governor of the CBSL have successfully driven the negotiations with the IMF in a positive manner. This team, together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in India have successfully managed our negotiations with creditor nations. Because of this, it is likely that we could move forward in signing off an IMF agreement.

However, without the pillars identified by the model, will we be able to work through the IMF programme and drive it to a conclusion?

Management experts have identified that a mediocre strategy, excellently implemented is often better than a brilliant strategy badly implemented. Based on the HBS strategy implementation model, Sri Lanka does not seem to have the ability to implement a good strategy. Maybe, Sri Lanka is adopting a ‘home grown’ management model that is yet to be published in management literature?

Sheran Fernando is a Co-Founder of Innosolve Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, a start-up dedicated to introducing sustainable mobility solutions in Sri Lanka. He is an economist by training with wide commercial experience, including 20 years in the automotive industry. He belongs to the alumni of Harvard Business School (OPM53). [email protected]

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