Leaders today experience a disconnect between classic leadership skills and the speed and pace of a volatile, connected world. What does it mean to be authentic today? To be as close as you can be to who you really are, while at the same time delivering what followers need in a global, networked world? My intent is to provoke debate on this critical topic.

Making Strategy Happen

Every year, companies spend billions of dollars on strategy guidance from some of the best brains on the planet.  Yet McKinsey and other studies show that 70 percent of change initiatives fail.  So billions of dollars, as well as large amounts of human energy and heart, are wasted every day, of every week, of every year.  Something fundamental is going wrong.  We spend a fortune on strategy, but it doesn’t work.  Why not?  The strategy provides the game plan, a way forward, a sense of direction and purpose.  But we have over-emphasized the role of strategy and under-estimated the critical role of execution.  We need a strategy for execution.


Strategy execution is surprisingly under-researched.  People tend to focus on the creation of strategy and getting the strategy right rather how it makes the leap to reality.  Programs of change grind to a halt. Strategies are formulated, but then wither on the corporate vine. Bright ideas and initiatives disappear into the organizational ether.  What’s the problem?  The ownership and passion felt by the CEO isn’t getting down to the next level.  These are executives with considerable responsibility for running the business, who wield tremendous power.  They direct large units of the business.   And they feel out of touch and out of control.  

If the strategy cascade is getting stuck this high up, then the chance of implementing any strategy – however brilliant -- is severely compromised.  It just isn’t going to happen.   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.  They need better leadership in order to feel ownership for strategy execution.