Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Smallest Building Block of Strategic Execution

Have you ever thought of the smallest increment of what it takes to get something done? I may be alone here but it seems to me to be a matter of incremental choices. Stephen Covey's quote for the day today is that we are a product of our choices. No argument there. But what actually influences choice? How are choices made? Are choices controllable?

This is an important question because the big choices made by a company to enter markets, create new products or implement new systems must be supported by all the choices made by the people in the organization or the big choice becomes a big flop.

Shad Helmstetter once pointed out that there are thousands of choices in a day and all of them count. If your organization has thousands of people, then there are at least a million choices in a day for each thousand people you have. Do the math. This is a critical issue.

So the thought for the day is this... based on my experience there are the following influencers on choice that boil down to strategic execution

A sense of why we are here in the first place
Development of character
The ability to take the longer term view and defer gratification
The climate we create around us
The culture we manifest as style
How we organize the support network around us
The goals we set
How we measure success
Milestones we adopt
Objectives we choose
The basic design of how we intend to get to where we want to be

Coherence among these aspects are the heavy influencers of choice and choice is imbedded in some of them. We choose our goals for instance. But if our choices of action do not align to our choice of goals, there is a critical lack of integrity that derails our efforts to reaching the goal

So the control point is choice. If we want to get something done, it is a matter of choices. If we influence the choices we make and those that others make, we stand a really good chance of getting something done. If not, at least we know where to keep working.

Good luck on the choice of today and if you read this, thanks for making that choice.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why purpose drives execution

December 4, 2007

With the availability of our new book, Executing Your Strategy, strategic execution will take on a new era in getting the strategic agenda of the organization accomplished. Piecemeal approaches to organizational development, organizational change and strategic planning have delivered less than optimum results for enterprises in general. So whats the problem?

I was reading Fortune magazine two days ago and turned to the cover article that reads "Confessions of a CEO" which is about Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba Networks. The article chronicles Dominic's journey through life as a corporate whiz in HP and in several other endeavors. In the article it becomes apparent that Dominic payed a huge price for his success on the home front. A really bad relationship with his son and a divorce not withstanding, Dominic says"I wanted to make peace with all the people I had hurt". So what does that have to do with strategic execution? Everything, actually. You see, what most people do not see is that what got Dominic into the shape of sitting on a psychiatrists couch and procaiming that his goal was to die a complete man in the wake of having made huge amounts of cash but having trashed his relationships that counted most is all about strategic execution. Dominic executed his plans for money, power and influence but had a fundamental misalignment with a key element in the system. Purpose. He forgot Purpose. He forgot that meaning comes from other things than money. He neglected the idea in the Toyota way handbook that says the enterprise must be dedicated to more than just making money to be sustainable and generate real performance.
Purpose guides decisions at the portfolio level of life and enterprise execution. This may be radical but becomes critical as we move into the next phase of organizational development fundamentally run by the human network, not the business machine.

That is one of the foundational concepts contained in our book called "Executing Your Strategy"

Read more about it at or look up Executing Your Strategy on