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How to align when innovation disrupts?

Alignment of people in the organization around the core strategic vision of the CEO and his/her top executive team, is thé dominant predictor for high performance and business success. Obviously, the CEO needs to have a sound and winning business strategy in the first place. CEO’s pay good money to McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting and alike strategy consulting firms to get to that point. But having a winning strategy in place is no guarantee for success, at all. What distinguishes excellent companies from the rest is not the quality of the strategy, but the quality of its execution. Excellent companies simply do what they say. Throughout the entire organization, at each level, in every team. It requires high alignment, where people connect and share their understanding of the why (purpose), how (direction) and what (goal) of the business strategy.

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How to become a master in strategy and execution

Did you know that two-thirds of top leaders do not excel in strategy, execution or both? To become a powerful leader with a strong alignment in your company, it is important to master these two dimensions. But how can you enhance and develop your abilities to close the gap between strategy and execution? Paul Leinwand, Cesare Mainardi and Art Kleiner studied extraordinary companies and found five important acts of unconventional leadership.

 

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5 unconventional acts that align strategy and execution in a business

Companies that are great at both strategy and execution do not follow the existing dominant practices of their industries. Instead, they found that the leaders of these companies excel at five unconventional acts.

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Preventing an island culture – part IV: What managers should and should not do

Everyone would agree that cooperation between teams is crucial for effective organizations. However, many organizations are faced with an island culture: teams and departments working in separation rather than integrating and aligning their strategic efforts. This significantly reduces team and organizational effectiveness. In fact, joint research by Harvard Business School and McKinsey shows that of all strategic projects that fail, 75% fails due to poor cooperation between teams.

So, what can an organization do to increase and improve cooperation and alignment between teams? And what role do managers play in this process? In a series of 4 blogposts, Dr. Jeanine Porck shares some important insights of four years of PhD research, which she conducted in collaboration with S-ray Diagnostics. This fourth and final blogpost is about what managers should and should not do in order to increase cooperation between teams.

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With which frequency and on which occasions should strategic measures be developed

Strategic measures serve to realize strategic objectives on corporate level or business unit level.  They have a medium to long-term impact on the business. Strategic measures should be based on a thorough decision process. In most cases, such a process is not part of day-to-day business activities. It is the old dilemma that, ideally, strategic planning should be a continuous process that is incorporated in the ongoing activities. However, all too often managers are too busy with their day-to-day duties and ad-hoc demands of their business. This article describes how strategic measures should be developed, how it should not be developed, and what could be done between these two extremes.

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Preventing an island culture – part III: Building ‘bridges’ between teams

Everyone would agree that cooperation between teams is crucial for effective organizations. However, many organizations are faced with an island culture: teams and departments working in separation rather than integrating and aligning their strategic efforts. This significantly reduces team and organizational effectiveness. In fact, joint research by Harvard Business School and McKinsey shows that of all strategic projects that fail, 75% fails due to poor cooperation between teams.

So, what can an organization do to increase and improve cooperation and alignment between teams? And what role do managers play in this process? In a series of 4 blogposts, Dr. Jeanine Porck shares some important insights of four years of PhD research, which she conducted in collaboration with S-ray Diagnostics. This third blogpost is about how organizations can help their employees to build ‘bridges’ between their team and other teams in the organization.

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Rudderless organization without strategy

Without strategy, every company, organization or institution is rudderless. But what is strategy? A clear story with a distinct vision about where the organization needs to go and how to get there? According to Dr. Marco de Haas, CEO of S-Ray Diagnostics, this is not enough. A strategy is only a strategy when it is also executed.

Compare it to a car of the latest model, packed with the best accessories and features, only it does not drive. An essential characteristic of a car is that it drives, otherwise it is a non-car. Equally an essential characteristic of strategy is its execution. Without execution there is no strategy, only a plan.

Why is this essential characteristic of a strategy so often overlooked? Or rather, why is the execution of strategy so easily presumed? The answer is surprisingly easy.

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Preventing an island culture – Part II: How you can get your organization aligned

Everyone would agree that cooperation between teams is crucial for effective organizations. However, many organizations are faced with an island culture: teams and departments working in separation rather than integrating and aligning their strategic efforts. This significantly reduces team and organizational effectiveness. In fact, joint research by Harvard Business School and McKinsey shows that of all strategic projects that fail, 75% fails due to poor cooperation between teams.

So, what can an organization do to increase and improve cooperation and alignment between teams? And what role do managers play in this process? In a series of 4 blogposts, Dr. Jeanine Porck shares some important insights of four years of PhD research, which she conducted in collaboration with S-ray Diagnostics. This second blogpost is about what organizations can do to increase cooperation between their teams. To ensure that cooperation is not only a statement on paper but actually works, an organization must clearly articulate to all employees that cooperation within and between teams is appreciated. Below are two examples of how organizations can effectively signal this.

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Preventing an island culture – Part I: Why you need to be strategic about cooperation between teams

Everyone would agree that cooperation between teams is crucial for effective organizations. However, many organizations are faced with an island culture: teams and departments working in separation rather than integrating and aligning their strategic efforts. This significantly reduces team and organizational effectiveness. So, what can an organization do to increase and improve cooperation and alignment between teams? And what role do managers play in this process? In a series of 4 blogposts, Dr. Jeanine Porck shares some important insights. The first blogpost is about why cooperation between teams is such a challenge and why shared strategic understanding is so crucial for cooperation between teams.

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Scientific Impact: Stressing Quality over Quantity

The time during which scientists could spend years and years on a single study is long gone. As in many sectors, you need to show the results of your efforts in fast facts and hard numbers. It is often argued that in scientific inquiry, quantity is prevailing over quality these days. The amount and type of publications are used as measures of performance and quality of scientists. In the Dutch valuation system, an article publication in a native scientific journal is worth one point, in an international i.e. English scientific journal two points, a book is worth one point, etc. One needs to score at least a predetermined threshold amount of points each year. So the more you publish, the more points you get and the better you perform, according to this system.

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Draw a Line between Strategy and Execution, and Your Business is Bound to Fail

It is almost like Cartesian mind/body dualism: we tend to consider strategy and execution to be two different things. The top management of an organization (the mind, or brain) formulates a strategy, which is then supposed to be executed by the organization (the body). The eventual organizational performances will rely on the quality of both. This means that you can have a great strategy, but with a poor execution, your organization won’t perform that well. Strategy and execution are distinct from each other.

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Crafting Strategy: Simplicity is the Key

In this digital day and age, online companies such as Google, Facebook, and Ebay are flourishing. They are highly successful, constantly developing new products and services while establishing huge profits. Taking into account that the environment they operate in is by strategists considered the worst possible, this is a fascinating fact.

Operating an online business puts you in a situation with intense rivalries, instant imitators, and customers who don’t want to pay for your services. Next to that there are few entry barriers, or specific resources needed that will put you on the road to success. After all, Yahoo! and Google started their businesses with a single computer and internet connection. So then how did these companies manage to become so successful? Did they create intelligent, complex strategies to deal with environmental complexity?

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