Strategy execution quotes


Published on

These are some of the more colorful quotes we heard from business leaders on speed of strategy execution.

Strategy execution quotes

  1. 1. Quotable Quotes on Strategic Speed © 2010 IIR Holdings, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. "A hippo in a tutu is still fat and slow." Lesson: No matter how elaborate a strategy (or tutu) is, it won’t help the organization seize market opportunities any faster. People must be mobilized to align with the strategy. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 2
  3. 3. "It’s not about a fast rollout." Lesson: People need time, discussion, and involvement if they are to understand and buy in to the strategy. They need to work through questions like: – What is the business context? – What are the specific "baby steps" I can take to execute the strategy? – What decisions can I make? What are the guidelines are for making them? – Who can I trust to support me in executing on my decisions? Rushing through the rollout will rob people of the opportunity to work through these questions. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 3
  4. 4. "Q x A = E" Lesson: This is a catchy way to say that it’s not about a fast rollout. The strategy needs to be of excellent quality (Q). But it also needs to be accepted (A). Quality x Acceptance = Effectiveness. Anything multiplied by zero equals zero. So, leaders in faster companies focus a majority of their effort on affirming their strategies and getting them accepted. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 4
  5. 5. "It’s all about being stupid. The more stupid you are, the faster you learn." Lesson: Business leaders can’t see into the ambiguous future, so they approach execution with an emphasis on learning. The greater the learning, the faster individuals, teams, and initiatives are able to deliver and sustain value. At the organizational level, this speed translates to 52% higher revenue and 40% higher operating profit. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 5
  6. 6. More quotes on the action/reflection approach to learning and strategy execution "If you aren’t always "I’m not hiring you for learning, changing, what you know, but for and evolving, what you can learn." you lose your edge." "The organization "It’s ‘move then is a petri dish." evaluate,’ constantly." QuotableQuotes11.PPT 6
  7. 7. "It’s bull$#!+." Lesson: A company president said this when we asked his thoughts on the notion that "speed is learning, learning is speed." When asked him to clarify, the president said speed and learning are natural opposites, and very few companies can bring them together. We then asked if those few companies are high performers. The answer: Yes. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 7
  8. 8. "We could quickly change the lights, rearrange the table … but we could not change the building." Lesson: After organizations merge, people often perceive that they had moved faster and made decisions faster when the organizations were separate units. Are they right? It depends on what is measured. Sure, the people probably made faster decisions. But could they make real shifts in their marketplace? No. The size and scope of the aligned and unified company can provide infrastructure, capital, and brand awareness that accelerates market- share gain. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 8
  9. 9. "I watched a dance show with my young daughter. She said one team was not going to win. When I asked why not, she said, ‘Because they don’t feel it.’ "It’s the same with execution. Most people will tell you it’s balanced scorecard, lean management, performance management. It’s get-stuff-done. Companies are doing that and failing. "Execution is so much more than just process. It is insight. It is passion." Lesson: Pace and process are just two elements of strategy execution. The most important element—the insight or passion—is people. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 9
  10. 10. "At least 40% of your measures must be leading indicators, or you will lose speed to change." Lesson: Excessive focus on downstream measures (e.g., revenue and net income per employee) can take your eye off the ball. Leading indicators, such as rational and emotional engagement, give leaders a glimpse into the future. If these indicators are high, it’s a good bet that people will overcome obstacles to deliver results and sustain value. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 10
  11. 11. "I don’t know how to make a tidal shift without constant communication built on frankness, transparency, and humbleness … … because, if you’re like that often enough, you earn huge forgiveness from your staff and your customers when you misstep." Lesson: To generate the trust required to enable people to try new things and to change, leaders must demonstrate a humble transparency. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 11
  12. 12. "Before, we made decisions like the U.N. Security Council." Lessons: Consensus is not a very fast way to make decisions. Faster companies often reduce the number of people involved in strategic decisions, and make quick decisions but socialize them. Willingness to say no is also critical to speed. It’s pretty easy to figure out what to say yes to, but far more difficult to figure out what to say no to. A "decisions/issues/risks" database can capture decisions that are made, so they need not be revisited. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 12
  13. 13. "Identify those who can be salvaged and those "Execute or be who may poison the well." executed." Lesson: These quotes, from different senior leaders at two very different companies, illustrate a similar finding: faster companies did not hesitate to fire employees who refused to change or who were subtly sabotaging change efforts. This practice is non-negotiable. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 13
  14. 14. "When you’re looking forward, the bumps in the road look far more daunting than the bumps in your rearview mirror really felt." Lesson: There are lots of reasons to move slowly and cautiously. But once you move past those reasons, the repercussions of your actions tend to be smaller and more time limited than you may have feared. Go Big. Blow away the narrow boxes of expectations of yourself and your company. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 14
  15. 15. "If at first you don’t succeed, screw it…" “…try something else— but always with the end firmly and distinctly in view." Lesson: Agility involves trying different methods of reaching the same goal —not changing your goal to match your methods. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 15
  16. 16. "Complexity can feel like walking through beautiful country with a backpack full of rocks." "We have to lower the water to see the rocks." Lesson: Business complexity is frustrating, and it slows things down. These two quotes—from different leaders at different companies—show that faster companies work on identifying and eliminating unnecessary work or processes ("rocks") that prevent execution of priorities. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 16
  17. 17. "Don’t romance a theory." Lesson: Do not become distracted by the topic du jour. Find new ways to achieve existing goals, rather than seeking new goals altogether. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 17
  18. 18. “The ‘Have everything link back to core strategies’ thing looks good on paper.” Lesson: The problem, sometimes, is that initiative objectives are stated at such high a level that it’s difficult to identify projects that don’t align, thereby making it difficult to determine what to say ‘no’ to. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 18
  19. 19. "It’s not okay to have history be the reason why things happen." Lesson: "Because we’ve always done it that way" is not an acceptable reason for doing it in that way. Question existing business processes and models. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 19
  20. 20. "We continue to learn how complex the English language is!" Lesson: There are an infinite number of ways in which communication can break down and ultimately defeat a strategy. Leaders simplify their language, ask questions, and constantly check assumptions and understanding. A well-thought-through communication plan is key. QuotableQuotes11.PPT 20