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Without effective execution, no business strategy can succeed. This second edition delivers a powerful framework every leader can use to overcome the obstacles to successfully deploying business strategy. In this book, leading consultant and Wharton professor Lawrence Hrebiniak offers a comprehensive, disciplined process model for Making Strategy Work in the real world. Drawing on his unsurpassed experience, Hrebiniak shows why execution is even more important than many senior executives realize, and sheds powerful new light on why businesses fail to deliver on even their most promising strategies. He offers a systematic roadmap for execution that encompasses every key success factor: organizational structure, coordination, information sharing, incentives, controls, change management, culture, and the role of power and influence in your business. With three new chapters, expanded coverage, and new examples, the Second Edition of this highly successful book is the definitive guide for turning strategy into action.
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The key to actually executing a chosen strategy is what happens after the decision is made. If things are left to their natural path, most businesses will fail to execute their chosen strategy, and will instead continue doing what they have always done. To get an organization to implement a chosen strategy successfully, a unified and integrated approach to execution is required.
To make your chosen strategy work, concentrate on getting five key factors right as well as paying attention to the context:
To be able to execute effectively, the corporate strategy must be clear and focused rather than fuzzy or vague. The corporate strategy must be designed with implementation in mind, and dictates what businesses or industries should make up the corporate portfolio. The corporate strategy will of necessity specify the number of operating units in the organization and how overall resources will be allocated across these units.
Generally speaking, it's much easier to nominate a commercial strategy than it is to actually make that strategy work. There are several reasons for this phenomena:
1. Managers are trained to plan — not to execute. Managers tend to know more about formulating a strategy than they know about executing one because this is what their training has focused on.
2. Some top-level managers assume they can nominate any strategy they like — and then leave it up to middle-level managers and lower-level employees to figure out the details. They turn execution over to the "grunts" and expect them to figure out any roadblocks which crop up.
3. The people who plan strategies are sometimes separate from those who actually do what's required — meaning the "planners" may have no real hands-on feel for the problems the "doers" are striking.
4. Execution of a strategy usually takes much longer than formulation—making it harder for people to maintain a feel for the big picture issues.
5. Strategy execution is a process — as opposed to strategy formulation which is frequently a one-step deal.
6. Strategy execution involves far more people than strategy development ever does — muddying the waters somewhat.
Despite these challenges, effective execution always begins with a good strategy at both the corporate and business levels. A sound strategy is the driving force behind any attempt to execute or make that strategy work.
The differences between a "good" strategy and a "bad" strategy from an execution perspective are:
1. A good strategy at both the corporate and business unit levels is clear and focused — and based on some reality-based thinking rather than head-in-the-clouds thinking. A good strategy will have:
A balance between cash generators and cash users
The right mix and positioning for business units
The optimum amount of risk
Something that will lead to competitive advantage
Awareness of the factors that affect the firm's markets
Realistic and sound assumptions
Thoughtful and thorough analysis at its heart
2. A good strategy integrates at the corporate and business unit levels
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