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Strategy That Works - Interview with Paul Leinwand

How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap

 
Paul Leinwand,Global Managing Director with Strategy&, PWC's strategy consulting business TotalPicture interviewPaul Leinwand

When it comes to evaluating job candidates, every survey of CEOs I've ever seen list leadership potential as the number one attribute they look for. However, two-thirds of executives say their organizations don't have the capabilities to support their strategy.

In a new book published by Harvard Business Review Press titled Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap co-authors Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi explain why. They identify conventional business practices that unintentionally create a gap between strategy and execution. And they show how some of the best companies in the world consistently leap ahead of their competitors. 

Welcome to a Leadership Channel Podcast on TotalPicture, this is Peter Clayton. Joining David Dalka and myself is Paul Leinwand, principal architect of capabilities-driven strategy and Global Managing Director with Strategy&, PWC's strategy consulting business. Paul is also adjunct professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg school of management.

Based on new research, the authors reveal five practices for connecting strategy and execution used by highly successful enterprises such as IKEA, Natura, Danaher, Haier, and Lego. These companies:

• Commit to what they do best instead of chasing multiple opportunities
• Build their own unique winning capabilities instead of copying others
• Put their culture to work instead of struggling to change it
• Invest where it matters instead of going lean across the board
• Shape the future instead of reacting to it


Talking Points:

PETER: I'd like to return to my open - two-thirds of executives say their organizations don't have the capabilities to support their strategy - isn't this an issue directly related to leadership?

PETER: How did you identify the companies featured in your book?

DAVID: On page one you say, "There is a significant and unnecessary gap between strategy and execution." The question becomes why?

DAVID: In 2002, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan wrote a best-selling book, "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done". Everyone talks about that book. Shouldn't this issue be a non-issue 14 years later then? Why isn't it?

PETER: Execution was on the business bestseller list for months. If so many executives have read that book, does the strategy-execution problem sometimes have to do with something external to the organization? A good example is the current presidential election. Six months ago no one predicted the tremendous success of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

PETER: Given the new research you've conducted regarding strategy & Execution, what about your approach is different than Bossidy and Charan's book?

PETER: What motivated Booz & Co to merge with PWC two years ago to form Strategy&?

PETER: As we all know mergers can be very tricky especially when in comes to different cultures. How was that transition?

PETER: What did you learn from the merger - especially as how it relates to strategy?

DAVID: In Chapter 4, there is a chart that discusses cultural traits and their advantages and disadvantages, let's take a deeper dive on each in terms of the impact on executing on the right things: - Engineering orientation
- Command and control foundation
- Pride in company's legacy
- Company as caretaker

PETER: Your book focuses on five acts of unconventional leadership. I'd like you to give us an example of one: Translate the Strategic into the everyday.

PETER: It seems to me for Strategy to Work means making sure those in HR and recruiting are well versed and incorporates the organization's strategic vision into the hiring process.

PETER: Paul, In researching and writing your book, and in your day job, has any strategic concept or tactic appeared that you were not expecting?

 

David Dalka is a CEO advisor and keynote speaker at Fearless Revival

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

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