In two decades working as a consultant to organizations located worldwide, I can say from first-hand experience that the single largest issue facing most of my clients is a lack of disciplined execution — in other words, an inability to “stick with it.”
Based on more than 25 years of corporate leadership, field research, executive consulting and training with many of the world’s leading organizations, Lee Colan and Julie Davis-Colancombine real-world stories with tools and ideas to help business leaders more effectively execute business strategies.
So, what are the keys to successfully “sticking with it”? The book describes a formula with four key elements: Focus x Competence x Passion = Adherence.
- Focus provides the clarity necessary to make decisions that support a business’s most important goals. It results in a clearly defined pathway to success. A sharp focus answers the “what” question: What do you need to do to execute your strategy?
- Competence is used in the broadest sense of the term. It encompasses the skills, systems, processes and tools a team uses to achieve its goals. The result is the ability to commit to, measure and hit targets. Building competence answers the “how” question: How will you execute your strategy?
- Passion creates a sense of connectedness. It creates a connection between teammates, a connection to our human need for meaningful work and a connection to each individual’s sense of value and contribution. Igniting passion answers the “why” question: Why are you executing your strategy?
- Adherence is the ability to consistently execute.
The authors state that, “A good strategy gets you in the game, but adhering to your strategy gets you into the winner’s circle.” According to a research study outlined in the book, the characteristics unique to Fortune magazine’s Top Ten Most Admired Companies that separated them from their industry peers are:
- Clearly defined roles for executives, managers and employees (focus).
- Leaders who are held accountable — both personally and for their team (competence).
- Continuous performance measurement aligned with the business strategy (competence).
- Business visions and purpose communicated deep into the organization (passion).
The researchers concluded that for the top 10 companies, strategy execution was not just an exercise but the focus of everything they did: “Even in highly competitive and rapidly changing environments, most admired companies are distinguished by their success in executing against strategic plans.”
I could not possibly agree more, so if you find effectively executing your business strategy and goals challenging, I think you’ll find this book most helpful. It is well written, the chapters are relatively short and there are lots of stories and examples to illustrate the authors’ points, so the book is engaging and easy to read. There is also a companion website that provides several helpful tools, including an online adherence assessment and feedback report. This book is definitely a good investment for your time and money.