The role of strategic leadership in strategy implementation at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) in Kenya
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There is a growing recognition that the most important problems in strategic management are not related to strategy formulation, but rather strategy implementation. Putting the strategy into effect and getting the organization moving in the direction of strategy accomplishment is a critical phase of strategic management process. This is the strategy implementation stage. It is a process by 'which strategies and policies are put into action through development of programs, budgets, and procedures. Leadership, and specifically strategic leadership has been identified as one of the key drivers of effective strategy implementation. The leadership's role is all important because its agenda for action and conclusion about how hard or fast to push for change are decisive in shaping the character of the implementation and moving the process along. Strategic leadership is the ability to influence a group towards the achievement of goals, and successful strategy implementation thus depends upon the leadership skills of working through others, organizing, motivating, culture building, establishing strategic controls, and creating strong fits between strategy and how the organization does things to ultimately achieve organizational goals. The objective of this study was to investigate the role played by strategic leadership in strategy implementation at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC). ADC is government parastatal established in 1965 through an Act of parliament and whose functions were later redefined in Cap 444 Act of Parliament of 1986 to include promotion and execution of agricultural schemes, production of essential agricultural inputs, initiation and expansion of agricultural undertakings and enterprises, transfer of technology from research institution the Kenyan farmer, as well as training of farmers in specific areas of agricultural production. The corporation has a crucial role in contributing towards poverty alleviation efforts as well as national food security. The study was conducted through a case study in which data was gathered from primary sources through interviews. The respondents were drawn from two key departments; the Finance and Technical (Strategy Implementation & Planning) divisions which are very instrumental in strategy implementation at the corporation. The data collected was analysed and evaluated for unfulness, consistency, credibility and adequacy through content analysis. The findings obtained from the study showed that strategic leadership plays a very critical role in the effective implementation of strategy at the corporation. Its role stirs commitment among people within the organization to embrace change and implement strategies intended to achieve the strategic vision. Strategic leadership role in strategy implementation include determination of strategic direction, building an organization, shaping effective organizational culture, effective management of organization's resource portfolio, enforcement of ethical compliance, communicating strategy, development of shortterm objectives and operational plans as well as establishment of balanced organizational controls, to mention a few. The recommendations made by this study will be valuable to the organization under study, the government, scholars, academicians, and any other organization or individual who may want to use the information obtained from the study.