HBR: The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution

Project request submitted by Dave Tracy


Presentation based on the HBR article, "The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution," co-authored by Gary Neilson, Karla Martin, and Elizabeth Powers. This article is on the list of "HBR's Must-Reads on Strategy."

This project will convert the article into an instructional presentation along with slide templates/diagrams for use in our own presentations.

Intro to the article:
A brilliant strategy may put you on the competitive map. But only solid execution keeps you there. Unfortunately, most companies struggle with implementation. That’s because they overrely on structural changes, such as reorganization, to execute their strategy.

Though structural change has its place in execution, it produces only short-term gains. For example, one company reduced its management layers as part of a strategy to address disappointing performance. Costs plummeted initially, but the layers soon crept back in.

Research by Neilson, Martin, and Powers shows that execution exemplars focus their efforts on two levers far more powerful than structural change:

*Clarifying decision rights--for instance, specifying who "owns" each decision and who must provide input

*Ensuring information flows where it's needed--such as promoting managers laterally so they build networks needed for the cross-unit collaboration critical to a new strategy

Tackle decision rights and information flows first, and only then alter organizational structures and realign incentives to support those moves.


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