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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Dubai strategy disaster

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Strategy is not solely of concern to firms of course, but to public services, voluntary organisations and others [though you would hardly know it to read the strategy textbooks and journals, which largely ignore these vast sections of the modern economy]. The collapse of Dubai is a spectacular case of strategic incompetence, but also throws up an issue of wider importance.

Dubai followed recommendations by Michael Porter to design its strategy, building on ideas from his Competitive Advantage of Nations, See Continue Reading →

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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 + falsehood = error

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An otherwise great column in HBR It’s Time for the 3-D MBA about improving MBA programs starts well by urging more breadth and depth, then calling for more ‘dynamics’ than static prespectives. [I’d hardly disagree with that!]. But it then asserts that “The vast majority of value created in business comes not from applying existing models, but from creating new models that do not now exist. It comes from creativity; from innovation.” – which is either completely false, ...

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