Implementation Lessons

NZ’s team of five million smashed lock down.  We had great leadership, were disciplined, and followed the agreed rules.   We virtually eliminated COVID-19 and after emerging from lock down had 24 consecutive days without any Covid-19 cases.

NZ was world champion.

Then we dropped the ball. Last week it became apparent there were major flaws with implementation of border controls, quarantine and testing.  The rules were unclear and misinterpreted.  The process was not being followed.  51 of the 55 people who left quarantine had not been tested for Covid-19.

It became obvious that the Ministry of Health was not capable of successful implementation and the Military were brought in to execute.

What can business learn from this?

Lesson #1 – Ensure the plan is understood

The plan must be in writing, unambiguous, and understood by all.  The detailed process must be agreed and followed consistently by everyone.

Lesson #2 – Ensure there is capability

A great plan will fail if the implementation team lack discipline, skills or capabilities.  Different implementation skills are required – someone awesome at sales may be poor at customer service, someone great with customers may struggle with finance or product development.

Lesson #3 – Ensure there is capacity

Even if the plan is fully understood and the implementation team have the required skills, we must also ensure they have sufficient capacity.  It may be necessary to increase or reallocate resources to ensure successful implementation of key priorities.

Lesson #4 – Review and revise

Management must check that the plan is being implemented as intended, and that it is working.  The strategy may need revision and fine tuning, timely adaption to changing circumstances is critical.

Now that NZ has a revised strategy and substituted implementation team, hopefully we’ll win against Covid-19.

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