The conversion of strategic intentions into plans, actions and outcomes, falls to organizational leaders who find themselves pushed and pulled between running day-to-day operations, while at the same time changing them according to a strategic plan that promises future success. Alex Lowy’s latest article, “The Six Dilemmas Of Strategy Execution,” in the most recent issue of Strategy & Leadership (Vol. 43 No. 6, 2015)provides a roadmap for executives to consider and address these challenges.
Rather than being a sign that strategies are failing, or problematic, dilemmas are, in Lowy’s words “part and parcel of the strategy implementation process; they present consequential choices that need to be understood and addressed, and when they are, rewards and success are likely to follow.”
Quick: Imagine it is three to six years in the future and your proposed strategy has been unsuccessful. Why did it fail? It’s a lot easier to see what went wrong looking backwards using 20/20 hindsight. It’s likely that current company leadership has some clues that would enable it to complete the sentence, “If only we had . . .”
This is the “Pre-Mortem Question” one of five exercises in strategic review that Alex Lowy recommends in the article “Five Reframing Questions Every CEO Should Ask,” in the lastest CEO Advisory from Emerald Group Publishing. Download the article here.
Alex Lowy (firstname.lastname@example.org) teaches Critical Thinking at the Schulich Executive Education Centre and Strategy Execution at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Toronto. He is co-author of The Power of the 2 x 2 Matrix (Jossey-Bass, 2004, with Phil Hood) and Digital Capital (Harvard Business School Press, 2000, with Don Tapscott & David Ticoll). His last book, No Problem, addresses the challenges of effectively reframing business issues.
“Successful companies have figured out how to compete in their market. But what makes them strategically effective? According to Alex Lowy, faculty member at the DeGroote School of Business Executive Education Centre, a good strategy answers why your business exists and why it deserves to win…”
“This is a challenging time to be leading a large or mid-sized company. Innovation and new competition can come from anywhere; there is no room for complacency! Three trends I find encouraging are in the areas of technology, innovation and culture. Corporations are quickly embracing new and better technologies, improving quality and lowering prices; they are seeking innovation from external sources (witness P & G’s goal of finding more than 50% of new product ideas outside of the firm), making them more agile…”
“Herbert Simon received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1978 for his work on the paradoxical nature of decision making. Coining the term ‘bounded rationality’, he observed that uncertainty is an inextricable part of the process, and that the only way to make decisions and be ‘rational’ is to invent parts of the picture that don’t exist because they lie somewhere in the future or beyond our ability to calculate…”