leadership, strategy
28 Nov 2023

Achieving strategic renewal: Engaging people to accelerate strategy execution

Achieving strategic renewal: Engaging people to accelerate strategy execution

Organisational renewal is crucial to stay competitive, whether driven by technological advancements, customer expectations, regulatory changes, environmental sustainability, or economic or cultural shifts. Taking a systemic approach in combining a purposeful vision with capability development and people allows companies not only to survive but thrive.


Strategy is usually referred to as a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty. Strategic renewal requires more than just well-defined goals and a clear-cut plan. It demands a human leadership approach that aligns with the organisation's vision, capabilities, competencies and leadership. This blog explores how a human-centric leadership approach is pivotal in achieving successful strategic renewal.

Five key points to achieve strategic renewal

  1. A purposeful vision. A compelling vision is the cornerstone of strategic renewal. It serves as the North Star that guides the organisation's actions and decisions. This vision should not only resonate with stakeholders but, critically, with employees as well. Employees are the driving force behind any organisation and must feel connected to the vision. When individuals see their roles as contributing to a greater purpose, it sparks enthusiasm, improves well-being, and enhances their commitment to the organisation. A key success factor is to connect any target or goal in an organisation to the purpose and clearly define the "why" for each task. This drives accountability, motivation, and agility in the organisation. 
  2. Time and presence for leadership. Leadership is not just about setting targets and monitoring performance metrics. It's also about connecting with people and truly understanding their needs and aspirations. In a human leadership approach, leaders prioritise listening to their employees, acknowledging their significance within the organisation, and showing appreciation for their contributions. The psychological safety of "having each other's back" boosts morale and creates a sense of belonging and shared values within the team or organisation.
  3. A culture of renewal. Many organisations get caught up in the myriad of tasks and numbers, focusing on keeping the wheel spinning on the slippery road. The critical missing piece is aligning the necessary competencies in building the capabilities that strengthen the organisation's strategic position. Identifying the must-win battles and initiatives should involve considering what capabilities and skills are required to drive these efforts and building a culture that fosters these. When competencies are intertwined with the organisation's strategy, it becomes easier to communicate the significance of every employee's role in the renewal and future success of the company.
  4. Building competencies. As organisations evolve, the skills and competencies required also change. A human leadership approach emphasises developing employees' skills to meet the changing demands of the business landscape. Leaders should invest in strengthening the competencies of their team, empowering their teams to acquire the necessary competencies through engaging work, development, training, and sharing best practices. This enhances the organisation's overall capabilities and fosters a culture of continuous learning and adaptability throughout the organisation.
  5. Communication and engagement.  Effective communication is the backbone of strategic renewal. Leaders should consistently have a strategic dialogue with different people in the organisation, discussing the vision, values, strategic goals, and competencies needed. Employees need to understand how their work fits into the bigger picture and that their work and opinions are valuable. It's essential to convey why they matter and how their contributions are instrumental in achieving organisational renewal. An engaged and informed workforce will likely be motivated and committed to the journey.

In a world where change is the only constant, achieving strategic renewal is imperative for organisations, especially in these times. To do so successfully, adopting a human leadership approach is essential. Leaders must recognise that employees are not just assets but the heart and soul of the organisation. They are the catalysts for change, and their commitment and competencies are pivotal in achieving renewal. So, let's embark on this journey of strategic renewal with a commitment to human leadership, fostering a purposeful vision, strong competencies, and open communication. Together, we can ensure the sustainability and growth of our organisations and, in turn, improve the well-being and satisfaction of our employees.


To learn more about strategic renewal, watch the video with Marc Hinnenberg, where he explores what strategic renewal requires from the organisation in terms of capabilities, competencies and leaders.

What are strategic capabilities?

Strategic capabilities represent how people and resources are brought together. They can be a combination of competencies an organisation needs to succeed in its strategy. They consist of tangible assets, such as financial resources or production means, and more intangible elements, such as processes, networks, brands or culture.

What are strategic competencies?

Strategic competencies combine related skills, knowledge and abilities that enable a person or team to act effectively in a particular job or situation. Competencies enable the capabilities.

About the author

Marc Hinnenberg is the CEO of Hanken & SSE Executive Education. Marc has vast experience in sales, marketing, business development and innovation. His passion is to improve businesses and make organisations stronger for more significant business impact and better profitability by understanding the customers' needs. 

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Marc Hinnenberg

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