Guide Leading Through Leaders: Driving Strategy, Execution and Change

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About This Item
Contents:
  1. How the Most Successful Teams Bridge the Strategy-Execution Gap
  2. Execution Is a People Problem, Not a Strategy Problem
  3. About This Item
  4. Strategy Execution Programme

  • Programme impact!
  • Leading Through Leaders Driving Strategy, Execution and Change!
  • The Secret of Lies.

This causes conflict. As a leader you will never drive strategy into action if you are unwilling to engage in this level of clarity and conflict. Your team will never sort it out amongst themselves. This is hard, but necessary. Because you need people to be doing different things and because this causes conflict, people will race back to doing things the old way as soon as there is a bump in the road.

So as an executive you need to be very committed to provide an even more powerful, consistent message to stay the course. You need to over communicate the strategy by talking about the action: specifically what needs to be different and why. Without measures and consequences for not meeting goals, no strategic initiative will ever happen.

If the leader does not engage in the discussion about what happened, how will we fix it, and what the consequences are, there is no motivation whatsoever for anyone to do anything different from what they are doing today. Being clear and consistent about milestones, measures, accountability, and communicating and following up is hard and boring. But necessary! This is how you turn strategy and hoped-for outcomes into actually results. In this case it is critical for the executive who is an externally focused, industry visionary, deal maker to recognize that they need to choose the right person to manage execution on their behalf.

How the Most Successful Teams Bridge the Strategy-Execution Gap

But take some care to realize that while you can delegate execution to some extent, you can not abdicate it entirely. You need to lead the communications, decisions and enforcement of consequences even if you are not doing all the leg-work personally. Return to Book Page. A leadership model is introduced which examines what leaders do, how they need to do it, and how they think when they process information in order to create the conditions in which their teams may be successful. It is based on an understanding of people in general and of the exercise of leadership in the real world in particular.

The 'concepts and tools' are based upon 'first principles' and a deep understanding of the nature of 'human nature and human capability' and are intended for intelligent application by a leader exercising discretion. Get A Copy.

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To ask other readers questions about Leading Through Leaders , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Leading Through Leaders. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing At Buurtzorg , a Dutch neighborhood nursing organization, most decisions are made by autonomous, leaderless teams of up to a dozen nurses. A small central management team supports and coaches the frontline nurses; there is no other middle management. The company achieves the highest client satisfaction levels of all community nursing delivery in the Netherlands, at only 70 percent of the usual cost.

Patients stay in care half as long, heal faster, and become more autonomous themselves.

Execution Is a People Problem, Not a Strategy Problem

And the nurses gain skills not just for leading their part of the enterprise, but in community leadership as well. Be honest and open about information. The management structure traditionally adopted by large organizations evolved from the military, and was specifically designed to limit the flow of information. In this model, information truly equals power. The trouble is, when information is released to specific individuals only on a need-to-know basis, people have to make decisions in the dark.

They do not know what factors are significant to the strategy of the enterprise; they have to guess. And it can be hard to guess right when you are not encouraged to understand the bigger picture or to question information that comes your way. Moreover, when people lack information, it undermines their confidence in challenging a leader or proposing an idea that differs from that of their leader.

Some competitive secrets for example, about products under development may need to remain hidden, but employees need a broad base of information if they are to become strategic leaders. Among the companies that use this practice are Southwest Airlines, Harley-Davidson, and Whole Foods Market, which have all enjoyed sustained growth after adopting explicit practices of transparency. Transparency fosters conversation about the meaning of information and the improvement of everyday practices. If productivity figures suddenly go down, for example, that could be an opportunity to implement change.

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Coming to a better understanding of the problem might be a team effort; it requires people to talk openly and honestly about the data. If information is concealed, temptation grows to manipulate the data to make it look better.


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The opportunity for strategic leadership is lost. Worse still, people are implicitly told that there is more value in expediency than in leading the enterprise to a higher level of performance. Strategic leaders know that the real power in information comes not from hoarding it, but from using it to find and create new opportunities for growth. Create multiple paths for raising and testing ideas. Developing and presenting ideas is a key skill for strategic leaders. Even more important is the ability to connect their ideas to the way the enterprise creates value.

By setting up ways for people to bring their innovative thinking to the surface, you can help them learn to make the most of their own creativity.

Strategy Execution Programme

Of course, it can also be counterproductive to allow people to raise ideas indiscriminately without paying much attention to their development. So many ideas, in so many repetitive forms, might then come to the surface that it would be nearly impossible to sort through them. The best opportunities could be lost in the clutter. Instead, create a variety of channels for innovative thinking. There could also be apprenticeships, in which promising thinkers, early in their careers, sign on for mentorship with leaders who are well equipped to help them build their skills.

Some organizations might set up in-house courses or sponsor attendance at university programs. Reverse mentoring — in which younger staff members share their knowledge of new technology as part of a collaboration with a more established staff member — can also be effective. Google has made use of a number of channels to promote innovation.

People at Google learn to make the most of these opportunities — they know the conversations will be tough, but that genuinely worthwhile innovative thinking will be recognized and rewarded. The next four principles involve unconventional ways of thinking about assessment, hiring, and training. Make it safe to fail. That works well until there is an actual failure, leading to a genuine loss.

Those who fail often suffer in terms of promotion and reward, if not worse. You must enshrine acceptance of failure — and willingness to admit failure early — in the practices and processes of the company, including the appraisal and promotion processes. For example, return-on-investment calculations need to assess results in a way that reflects the agreed-upon objectives, which may have been deliberately designed to include risk. Strategic leaders cannot learn only from efforts that succeed; they need to recognize the types of failures that turn into successes.

They also need to learn how to manage the tensions associated with uncertainty, and how to recover from failure to try new ventures again. Honda is one enterprise that has taken this approach to heart. Like several other industrial companies, the automaker has had a dramatic, visible failure in recent years. The installation of faulty equipment from its favored airbag supplier, Takata, has led Honda to recall about 8.

The problem was the lack of attention to the failure at an early stage, when it could have been much more easily corrected. Provide access to other strategists. Give potential strategic leaders the opportunity to meet and work with their peers across the organization. Otherwise, they remain hidden from one another, and may feel isolated or alone. The first step is to find them. Strategic leaders may not be fully aware themselves that they are distinctive.

But others on their team, and their bosses, tend to recognize their unique talents.

Daryl Conner - Speaker on Leadership, Strategy Execution and Change Management

Instead, cultivate the idea that many managers, perhaps even most, have the potential to become strategic leaders. Then bring the first group together. Invite them to learn from one another, and to explore ways of fostering a more strategic environment in the rest of the enterprise. Develop opportunities for experience-based learning. The vast majority of professional leadership development is informative as opposed to experiential.