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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Execution is the Strategy

Execution IS the Strategy: How Leaders Achieve Maximum Results in Minimum TimeExecution IS the Strategy: How Leaders Achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time by Laura Stack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the (now-defunct) 12 Books Group in exchange for this review.

Execution is the Strategy. When I first saw the title, I thought, "Duh." Nothing gets done unless you execute. You can sit around in meetings all day and plan to your heart's content, but unless you execute, it's all meaningless. Unfortunately, a lot of corporations don't do this, or don't really know how. The author has a 4-step plan, based on the acronym LEAD, to get things done.

L stands for Leverage. This means that you have the right people and drivers to execute your strategy.

E stands for Environment. This means you have the right organizational atmosphere , practices, and culture to allow employees to execute.

A stands for Alignment. This means that employees' attitudes align with the organization's goals.

D stands for Drive. This means that everyone is agile enough to move quickly to execute.

Within these, she discusses various strategies to make sure can execute effectively. She goes through the ideal scenario, and then explains what to do when the ideal scenario doesn't work. There's also a "Final Word" in each chapter, summarizing what was said.

I've read a lot of business books, and some of this reminded me of things I'd seen elsewhere. For example, the section on prioritizing reminded me of the "ABC" method I've seen elsewhere. (A is top priority, B is important but lesser priority, and C is trivia.) Also, a section on refreshing your mind by doing important things that aren't urgent. reminded me of Stephen Covey's quadrant system. (Check it out in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)

She does address big disasters in the book, where you do what you can, but a lot of other plans go out the window. She doesn't mention the biggest one of the last few years, however--9/11. That was a big improvisation. It also illustrates the dichotomy in the book. For a big emergency, you need to have one person in charge, giving orders. For other considerations, however, collaboration is better, but not to the point of analysis paralysis. The response right after 9/11 was great. The decisions on what to do with the site, though, were not great. It took over a decade to decide what to do with the property, and the new building just opened.

This is a good book. The best thing to do with this, however, is to put it into action. If it just sits on a shelf, the title becomes ironic.

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