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Strategy Implementation Through People

"I'd rather have a first-rate execution and second-rate strategy anytime than a brilliant idea and mediocre management."
Jamie Dimon, CEO JP Morgan

Most CEO’s are pretty happy with their strategy. What really keeps CEO’s awake at night is often the mediocre execution of their strategy!


What happens if a company does not renew itself quick enough? When they work on auto pilot? Well, things will go worse and worse; a little every year. Why? Because some of their customers will go out of business each year. Some of them will change to a new supplier. Everybody makes mistakes and therefore customers disappear. New competition is getting stronger. And so on and so forth. A company addresses this by continually focusing on improving their current offer. Their products or services need to be a little smarter, better, cheaper and faster; year after year. This is necessary to continue to close the gap with the competition.

But if the company wants autonomous growth, focusing on doing better alone is, by far, not good enough. They will have to learn to renew the company continuously. By challenging existing routines. By innovating quickly. By making lots of mistakes and learning quickly. Adjusting their approach and trying again. It’s only with this approach that a company can grow their revenues. We know that that’s not always so easy, especially if there is a long and successful legacy present in the DNA of the company.

The combination of do better and do new must be translated into three to five priorities. Then a series of actions must be added to these top priorities. Next, each action gets a personal owner (1!) and a Key Performance Indicator. What is the desired measurable outcome of this action? The company will work on approximately 20 actions on which it operates continuously. No more! Finally, the leadership team monitors implementation rigorously.

One of my favorite stories about strategy execution reads like a real page turner: American Icon. The book that was written about Allan Mulally who led Ford Motor Company before and during the Great Recession.

It's an incredible cliché, but technological changes are accelerating. A great and recent book written about this is: The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

Hope this inspires.

Paul Donkers

Continue reading?

Two other columns that we have published in this regard:

Success or failure by Herman van Herterijck

Beat or fail? by Herman van Herterijck

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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