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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Importance of A Repeatable Methodology for Strategy Execution

A methodology, or method, is another name for any step-by-step approach to getting something done. A business-building methodology must include the steps that are essential for an organization to build and sustain a healthy, growing business. It must define how the organization sets its goals and priorities and organizes its resources to best achieve these goals.

It must teach the organization how to stay focused on what’s important, while dealing with the inevitable surprises that occur regularly in life. It must provide ways to identify where the organization is on plan (or off) and do so in real-time.

A business-building methodology must provide a framework for an organization to learn and grow as its size and complexity grows – a way to increase its capability to learn and grow faster than its challenges. Another priority of the methodology is to connect long-term goals with daily decisions. To do this requires connecting people’s activities to the company’s strategy – from the top to the bottom of the organization. It requires a clear process for defining strategy and goals that are then translated into team and individual goals.

Another benefit of having a repeatable and documented business-building methodology is the accumulation of knowledge by individuals and teams. Defining a process and then documenting changes to that process reinforces the learning that occurs so that you don’t forget it. When many individuals use a common methodology, the rate of accumulated learning that is shared is accelerated.


  • The goal of a complete strategy execution program is to enable organizations to spend an increasing amount of time in Quadrant II. Here, their performance is more predictable and sustainable and execution of strategy becomes balanced.

  • Achieving this goal requires thinking holistically about the business – how to make all the components, people, processes, policies, key measures, assets and strategies work together to meet the promises made to customers and other stakeholders and to repeat these in a predictable fashion.

  • Be aware that reading about each discipline separately doesn’t make your business perform better instantly any more than taking five golf lessons makes you a good golfer. In the end, you have to learn how to use all of the disciplines together and the only way to truly learn is by doing.

  • We are absolutely advocating this: every organization that is serious about excellence
    and execution must practice some defined methodology as the foundation of its efforts.

  • The absolute foundation of building an organization that is increasing its ability to execute is a repeatable methodology.

  • In addition, the disciplines must be used in conjunction with the other three required elements of a complete strategy execution program: strategy execution coaching, an execution software system and the benefits of community learning.

(Excerpted from Chapter 7, Six Disciplines Execution Revolution, by Gary Harpst)

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