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Monday, August 24, 2009

Strategy Execution - The Un-Idea

In 2005, Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote a short - but profound piece - about execution for strategy & business magazine entitled Execution: The Un-Idea. Below are excerpts from the article:

  • "Twenty-five years ago, management meant control. Managers put in controls, handed workers specifications, and established formal structures that ensured that people did what they were told. Companies operated alone, rather than being part of partner networks or plugging their people into informal relationships. It was an ineffective way to operate, especially after the information technology revolution took place, and to break out of it, companies needed management ideas.

  • Innovation and intrapreneurship, Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, reengineering, networked organizations — these were all conceptual handles that allowed executives to justify and develop new breakthrough practices.

  • Today, companies don’t need new ideas in the same way they did 25 years ago (although they still need new business strategies). They’ve been through the paradigm shift. They have sustained tremendous improvement in productivity, effectiveness, and attentiveness to opportunities. That doesn’t mean they’ve been successful; indeed, as they’ve explored new ways of working, we have all learned how hard it is to put these ideas into practice.

  • That’s why execution, or ‘making it happen,’ is so important. Execution is the un-idea; it means having the mental and organizational flexibility to put new business models into practice, even if they counter what you’re currently doing. That ability is central to running a company right now.
  • So rather than chasing another new management fad, or expecting still another ‘magic bullet’ to come along, companies should focus on execution to effectively use the organizational tools we already have.”

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