Strategy Execution – not all about projects

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Most work on why strategies don’t get done focus on culture, but a new book [1] blames poor project management. It explains how the process should work, and tools to assess a firm’s capability to do it, but it needs a worked example to show the process actually happening.

“Projects” are certainly vital – a big part of Cisco’s past success came from its power as a ‘serial-acquirer’ of new technologies, each of which was a project. And a white-goods manufacturer recently ...

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The Execution Premium

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More solid stuff from Kaplan and Norton, which moves on somewhat from their balanced scorecard + strategy maps ideas. The Execution Premium points out “Strategy that does not link to operations is not strategic. It’s just pointless planning.” and goes on to outline how to plan operations to deliver the strategy – a notable omission from most business school strategy classes.

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Good sense from McDonald’s

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A great review of What McDonald’s Can Teach Us About Recovery from an insider involved from the turn-round after 2002. I’ve noted before how Starbucks walked blindfold into exactly the trouble that McD had to dig itself out of, and this short piece makes some great points about how they did it. 

  1. It’s quality of growth that matters, not quantity.
  2. Fix and drive the business model, don’t reinvent it.
  3. “It’s the system, stupid!” – i.e. the system that delivers performance, not manipulating ratios ...
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Strategy Execution

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HBR is dusting off some old but useful articles in this collection Maximize Your Strategy.   

Three Keys to Effective Execution at least makes the point that great strategy is no use if it is not implemented well and fast. Unfortunately, the advice is a bit too self-evident and general to be helpful – you should [a] maintain your focus [b] develop tracking systems and [c] set up formal reviews.

Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance reports ...

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Get strategic planning right

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Useful reminder to avoid flaws in strategic planning in HBP’s Management Essentials. Especially good to see the first item:

  1. Don’t skip rigorous analysis.
  2. Don’t think strategy can be built in a day.
  3. Take care to link strategic planning to strategy execution.
  4. Make sure to hold robust strategy review meetings.

This may all seem verypedestrian in these exciting times of strategic innovation and reinventing your business model – but no less critical than it always was.

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