Much business literature suggests that we develop a sophisticated strategy and implement it, however recent work by Kaplan & Norton (The Execution Premium, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2008) seems to indicate that execution is every bit as important as the stategy (surprise!). Indeed Kapland & Norton point out that a average strategy well executed can be more beneficial than a superb strategy poorly executed. Now consider that the point in time when we are developing strategy we have the least experience of the consequences of that strategy so why all the empahasis on the great strategy?
The idea of an itterative strategy is gaining more purchase where instead of the strategy reviews we are all used to (ie. confirming all is going well) we purposefully expect the strategy to develop and change as more information comes in at the review points. This seems a lot more logical, but perhaps it is less attractive to major consultancies who help to develop “The Strategy” and then leave a client to implement it and if it does not work it must be down to poor execution.
Don Sull of London Business School has generated a set of three short videos which clearly set out the problems of conventional strategy and an itterative model:-
Video 2:- An alternative to linear strategy
These videos are well worth the 2o minutes it takes to watch all three.