The Strategy of Execution:
A Five Step Guide for Turning Vision into Action
Liz Mellon and Simon Carter
Every year, companies spend billions of dollars on strategy guidance from some of the best brains on the planet. The European market alone for consulting is about $32 billion and 12 percent of that goes on strategy consulting - a startling annual spend of $4 billion. The global annual spend, including everything from IT to business strategy, was about $415 billion in 2013, making the global spend just on strategy consulting about $50 billion. Yet a Harvard Business Review article in September 2004 suggested that as many as 90 percent of strategies fail to deliver their intended results, 70 percent fail at execution and 95 percent of the workforce say they don’t understand the company strategy.
So, of that direct spend of $50 billion, we might as well put $35 billion in a pile and burn it.
Something fundamental is going wrong. Over the last thirty years we have worked with leaders and organizations throughout the world. What started out, just over ten years ago, as a weak signal warning about potential lack of felt ownership among the most senior leaders in one company has become a cacophony of sound. The chorus is ‘why don’t they get it’? The message is clear. For some reason, the top level of executives is not living up to the expectations held for them. And it’s happening across a range of organizations and industries. The ownership and passion felt by the CEO isn’t getting down to the next level. If the strategy cascade is getting stuck this high up, then the chance of implementing any strategy – however brilliant -- is severely compromised. The true challenge to effective strategy execution today starts with the senior executives. Not the CEO and executive team, but the leaders reporting to them.
Over the last five years we have focused our energies on trying to figure out why this happens and what the potential solutions are. We have interviewed executives worldwide and grilled many other attendees on our executive programs to get to the truth. The result is The Strategy of Execution with a five step guide to implementing strategy.
The New CFOs:
How Financial Teams and their Leaders Can Revolutionize Modern Business
Liz Mellon, David C Nagel, Robert Lippert and Nigel Slack
We are now sifting through the debris of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Never has financial probity been more important and never has the job of the CFO been so broad or so complex. This book is about how you execute against the job, which has grown bigger than you ever thought it would.
It tells you about the skills you need to be a bigger and better CFO. At the same time, some of the leadership skills you need are exactly those that best support the CEO role too. So whatever your career aspirations, this book can help. In addition to core leadership skills, we cover three levels of capability for the CFO. The first level is to get the basics right. Run Finance like a factory, so that reliable numbers are reported accurately and on time. No re-statements. Level 2 is to manage risk and understand the balance between risk and reward and level 3 is to understand value creation and be a trusted advisor to the business.
Inside the Leader's Mind:
Five Ways to Think Like a Leader
Liz says, "Despite all the books and all the analysis, the questions surrounding leadership are substantial and important – and some come back time and time again. After 25 years devoted to leadership development, I had a nagging feeling that something was missing. I discussed these recurrent questions with leaders all over the world and, slowly but surely, I saw a new idea emerge. I have found that leaders think in five remarkably similar ways. Not act – think. I tested these five ways of thinking with CEOs from a range of global companies – this book tells their stories. It is intended to help aspiring leaders to develop and hone their leadership skills through thinking differently. I do hope you enjoy reading it and find it useful in your own work."