Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Leaders and Strategy Execution

One of our readings for this week was 'The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution'(TSSSE). In this blog post, I'm addressing this article and presenting my views about it.

This article, in my opinion, has great insights. I felt a strong relation between this article and another one I had previously read in my 'Organizational Design and Implementation' class - 'What Leaders Really Do'.

'What Leaders Really Do' is written by John P. Kotter and in that article, he explains the difference between a leader and a manager through 3 distinct comparisons.

1. Setting a Direction vs Planning and Budgeting
2. Aligning people vs Organizing and Staffing
3. Motivating People vs Controlling and Problem Solving

As mentioned in TSSSE, the two elements that matter the most for Strategy Execution are

1. Information
2. Decision Rights

The way I envision is that point 2 from Kotter's article relates strongly with both the points of TSSSE. As Kotter explains in his point 1, about setting a direction, the article TSSSE assumes that the Strategy is already developed and the firm and its top executives know which direction they need to steer the company in.

It is at this stage that TSSSE starts out, where the article states that Information and Decision Rights are the most important elements for companies to focus on, to ensure success of strategy - which I would imagine to be a part of 'Aligning People' task in Kotter's article.
As noted in TSSSE, many firms failed at strategy execution as they chose restructuring as the way. I imagine this to be a part of 'Organizing and Staffing' task in Kotter's article which is not a part of Leadership, but is a part of middle management.
Some aspects mentioned in TSSSE also feature in the planning and controlling task from Kotter's article.

I guess the point I'm trying make here is that, as a leader / chief executives in a firm, you are not only entrusted with the task to form a strategy but also to make sure that the firm is positioned in such a way that they can execute the strategy.
The way they can achieve it is by 'Aligning People' - making sure that information is fluid between everyone in the organization and also making sure that decision rights are clarified, amongst other things.
This article has allowed me to further develop a structure for the tasks that a executive of a firm has to do, all the way down to the 17 traits listed in the article.

My question to my classmates is - Do you agree with this connection? Do you also agree with the insights of TSSSE?

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