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Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Strategic Look At Strategy Execution

Strategy is sexy, but execution is essential.

That message was pounded into managerial skulls when Larry Bossidy beat the drum for execution back in 2002 in his book: "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done."

More recently, Lawrence Hrebiniak, professor at the Wharton School, in his newer book, Making Strategy Work, sets out a comprehensive, disciplined process model for strategy execution.

His assertions?

  • MBAs join companies with an uneven development of skills. They have been taught to develop skills in planning and strategy formulation, but are ignorant of “even the theory and the approach to execution.”
  • People must commit to and own the processes and actions necessary to effective execution, and this doesn’t happen when we separate planning and doing. Strategic success demands the integration of planning and execution.
  • Execution becomes even harder when an organization is growing rapidly. It's not enough to set objectives and make things clear at the management level - everyone must understand the strategy for it to be executed well.

BOTTOMLINE: Execution will not succeed without information sharing, knowledge transfer, and effective communication, as well as the right incentives and controls, and effective change management.

(Thanks to the folks at for this one.)

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