Strategy Execution – The CEO’s Greatest Challenge

Research by the Conference Board reports that the execution of strategy is the CEO’s greatest concern. The Conference Board’s recent Survey of CEOs revealed that chief executives are so concerned about strategy execution that they rated it as both their number one and number two most challenging issue. Agile Strategy Execution is a solution to the problem.

The Strategy Execution Problem

Why does strategy execution so often fail? Because most strategic plans are little more than a series of objectives, from on level to the next. But, the problem is not objectives and it is not vertical. It is the design of the processes, culture and capabilities that enable the organization to achieve its strategic objectives. It is aligning capabilities to strategy. It is the ability to adapt and align in fast cycles. In other words, to be agile. Success resides in a process to design and deploy those capabilities.

Rapid cycle learning, alignment and adaptation is the key to strategy execution.

Rapid cycle learning, alignment and adaptation is the key to strategy execution.

For the past nine months I have been working on a comprehensive course on Agile Strategy Execution. I am happy to say that it is now complete and available on Udemy. You can see the complete Agile Strategy Execution – Curriculum here. This course includes three complete assessments of the organization’s culture and leadership; a process to define the required capabilities; and, the process of designing the organization and its systems to achieve the desired strategic position. For my blog readers and friends, I would like to offer a steep discount off the regular $299 price for a limited time. If you use this coupon code you can have the course for only $99. 

Agile Strategy Execution

In my new Udemy course, I dissect the problem and describe a practical process of strategy execution, creating the culture and capabilities that result in successful execution of strategy.

The term “Agile” implies an iterative process of experimentation, learning, adaptation, and alignment across business units and support groups. This course is about creating that agility, adaptation and alignment.

Every organization has capabilities that are embedded in the culture. This course will take the leader through a process of assessing the organization’s current  culture, its assets and liabilities, sensing the changing landscape that presents threats and opportunities, and then engaging the organization in the design of those processes and systems that will ensure future advantage.


Amazon versus The New York Times

I suggest that both Bezos and those interviewed for the Times article are honestly and accurately portraying the culture as seen through their eyes and their experience. Amazon is straddling the Barbarian and Builder/Explorer stage of my life cycle model. This is a good place to be in an external environment that is filled with rapidly emerging competitors and changing technologies. If you aren’t conquering you are probably about to be conquered!

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Drop the Debates, Begin the Dialogues

Imagine your CEO, each time he or she was challenged, turning on the person asking the question and proclaiming “you’re loser” or, “that’s because you’re stupid!” My mother, and probably your own, taught me not to call others names. Someone said “turn the other cheek.” Why in politics is this kind of response apparently acceptable to so many people when it should immediately be recognized as uncivil behavior and a disqualification for any public office?

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Coaching and The Caring Continuum

Coaching is becoming widespread in our organizations with many people claiming to be coaches, but with very different interests and skills. To those implementing lean management it is important to recognize that every manager at Toyota has a coach or mentor. The goals of the coach and the client should be in alignment. There are a number of ways to describe the continuum of relationships between coach and client: from short-term to long-term, from focused on today’s problems to developing strategic systems and culture, from low to high intimacy. For the sake of simplicity I will divide this continuum into three zones: the Blue, Green and Red Zones of Caring.

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