Strategy Execution – not all about projects

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 specified a project process for entering each in a sequence of national markets.  But strategic management is not all about projects – the critical foundation is a robust set of policies for the repeated decisions that keep the plan on track, about pricing, product development, marketing, staffing and so on. Only if this is sound can we embark on the bigger steps that need project discipline.

[1] Executing your Strategy by Mark Morgan, Raymond Levitt and William Malek, Harvard Business School Press.

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