The Book Corner - Review

Executing Your Strategy by Mark Morgan, William A. Malek, Raymond E. Levitt

Executing Your Strategy: How to Break It Down and Get It Done

By Mark Morgan, William A. Malek, Raymond E. Levitt
Harvard Business School Press, 2007

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4 stars: Thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating materialMorgan, Malek, and Levitt provide a detailed approach to strategy implementation using project management as a guideline. Often, strategic initiatives are developed without a proper systematic approach to insure that organizations do the right things. The authors’ solution to this problem involves having strategy makers work with strategy implementers to achieve strategy execution. Thus, strategy initiatives become part of a strategic project-management portfolio.

Strategic execution requires systemic thinking, the authors write. They cover six imperatives in the strategic execution process: ideation, vision, nature of the organization, engagement, synthesis, and transition.

Ideation requires an organization to clarify and communicate its identity, purpose, and long-range intention. This starting point shapes the organization’s strategic choices. Vision, the second imperative, is about expressing the strategy in terms of goals and metrics. The third imperative is the nature of the organization and deals with the links between its culture, its strategy, and its structure. Fourth is engagement, which begins with the critical task of communicating strategic intent to stakeholders by works and actions. Next is synthesis, where project portfolio management converts strategy into action and provides strategy makers with feedback about the status of initiatives and the availability of key resources. The sixth and final imperative, transition, is where actions and results are moved into the mainstream of the organization.

Clearly, these imperatives do not stand alone, but are iterative in nature. Strategic management involves formulation and implementation. Formulation requires creative and innovative thinking to break away from industry orthodoxy. This book provides clear direction on the implementation process and is highly recommended for the serious practitioner interested in formulation and implementation.[1]

[1] I would also recommend Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton’s Alignment for this purpose. In addition, these ideas are explored by Gary Hamel in Leading the Revolution and Future of Management, W. Chan Kim and Renee Maubourgne in Blue Ocean Strategy, and Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles Burck in Execution.

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