Open Program

Making Strategy Happen

Bridge the gaps between strategic plans, actions and outcomes.

This four-day program draws on extensive work carried out on strategy execution models in public, private and military organizations.

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Making Strategy Happen

Program Overview

All too often, good strategies fail to produce winning results.

There is a gap between the goals of the leaders and the readiness, willingness and ability of the organisation to achieve it. To bridge that gap, a set of formal disciplines needs to be put in place.

Building on research into public company, private equity and military methods for implementing strategy, this program shows managers how to navigate a course through planning, implementation and adaptation.

It focuses on a tried and tested process for steering an organisation towards its strategic objectives, whilst being flexible enough to adapt to unpredictable events.

Content and Structure


We ask you to identify a situation from your personal experience, where the implementation did not run smoothly.  You reflect on why that was the case.

Residential Phase

The program is a stimulating mix of plenary discussions using case studies and video clips, as well as exercises conducted in break-out groups. Theory is balanced with practical application - most of the exercises will involve participants applying what they have learned directly to their actual situation.

You will learn how to:

  • Identify the essential elements of a strategy
  • Assess and remove blocks to change before starting implementation
  • Communicate the strategy clearly and simply
  • Create a framework for making trade-offs
  • Set priorities
  • Give guidance whilst allowing flexibility
  • Prepare for and steer through set-backs on the implementation journey
  • Engage the workforce in support of strategic objectives
  • Build the organizational capabilities to make it happen
  • Monitor and motivate progress by linking strategy implementation to budgets, performance metrics and incentives.

View an example timetable


You will leave the program with an action plan to help you put the lessons into practice within your organization and will have the option to ask for help from the faculty if required.

You will become a member of the Ashridge Alumni network, which is an excellent opportunity to continue your personal development and networking.

You are also given continued access to your online program portal and Virtual Ashridge content for six months after your residential stay. Ongoing support and further learning opportunities are available with Ashridge Momentum.

Related content

View related programs  The Ashridge experience   Customize this program 

This program is a module of our Advanced Management Program.

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Participant feedback

“Probably the best course I have been on in turning academic theory into practical tools.”

Dougals Wright, Medical Director, Aviva UK Health.

“This was a very enjoyable and stimulating course. The content, structure and pace were great. One of the best and most effective courses I've attended. The use of DVD extracts and case studies helped to re-inforce learning.”

Maurice Atkinson, Director of Corporate Services, Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

“Overall brilliant training, a very good balance between theory and real cases, examples. This course gives an excellent understanding of what strategy is and how to move to execution.”

François Ramognino, Division Controller Operations, Ipsen Ltd.

“Invaluable insight into the real issues facing organizations and how to deal with them. I have learnt many practical techniques and gained answers to questions that previously I did not realise existed.”

Paul Witham, Strategic Management Officer, TNT Express (UK) Ltd.

“Excellent course tying together many aspects that are often ignored.”

Robert Hauserman, Global Organizational Development & Learning Manager, Infineum USA LP.

“Delivery and application of experience from Felix and Stephen was excellent. Also very interesting and new for me to hear from military perspective.”

Helen Tupper, Castrol Global Marketing Manager, BP.

“Excellent materials and application using real life examples. Interesting tutors. Probably the best course I've been on for several years.”

Vernon Barton, Head of Strategic Change and IT, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance.

“Excellent - will change the way I develop my business.”

Fergus Gregory, Divisional Managing Director, Informa UK Ltd.

“Stephen Bungay's ability to make the course "come Alive" with real life examples really made the course for me - it's so much better when real life examples are involved - excellent!”

Stephen Hodges, Senior Manager - BISC, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance.

“An incredibly relevant and valuable four days that I will be able to put into practice immediately. The passion and enthusiasm was fantastic and inspiring.”

Nicholas Harding, Strategic Initiatives Management, Canada Life.

Program fee

What is included in your open program fee?
Download our brochure /executive-organisation-development/open-programmes/making-strategy-happen-(1)/msh-form/

Who is it for?

The program is designed for managers involved in the process of turning plans into action. It is suitable for anyone in a leadership team for a function, business, project, division or the company as a whole. You may be responsible for developing those plans yourself or for translating broad strategic objectives into operational reality.

You may be a line manager with bottom-line responsibility for a single business or a portfolio of businesses. You may be a functional manager or a member of a project office or the planning staff seeking to help business units improve their execution skills.

Benefits to you and your organization

You will learn:

  • How to engage your workforce in support of strategic objectives
  • How to give and receive more effective briefings in order to harness the skills of the whole team in line with the strategic plan
  • How to build a high-energy, purposeful, empowered and adaptive organization.

Your knowledge will help you execute new strategies and create an organisation that achieves the aspirations set out in the strategic plan.

Faculty Team

Stephen Bungay

Stephen Bungay

MA, DPhil (Oxon)

Read more about Stephen

Felix Barber

Felix Barber


Read more about Felix