Many of us here in the UK are infected with Wimbledon fever! That magical time of year when the reigning champions face not only each other, but the rising stars of the future. Dynasties can fall and new kings and queens of Centre Court crowned. But also the old Masters can use their experience and confidence to win again.
So with Wimbledon very much on my mind, I am reminded of many decades ago when the wooden Dunlop Maxply racket was the only racket to have. A famous squash player said in an advertisement: “Without my Dunlop Maxply, I might as well use a fly swat”.
In tennis as well, the Maxply ruled. The wooden Dunlop Maxply accompanied Bjorn Borg (5 time winner: 1976-1980) and John McEnroe (3 time winner) to Finals Day at Wimbledon many times.
But times have changed. Today’s graphite and composite rackets have taken racket sports to unprecedented levels. Like never before, pinpoint control, flaming power and gentle finesse are possible with these new technology rackets. And the players are different as well. They are much fitter, follow rigorous scientific training regimes and adhere to nutrition plans formulated by sports physicians. Their shoes and clothes have been developed by leading scientists and engineers.
Strategic Planning and Strategy Execution
In the world of business, things have also changed, especially the pace of technology and the rapid increase in global competition, all demanding the very best from the company and the leadership team. And strategic planning, once just an exercise of gathering last year’s numbers and adding 10%, is now highly rigorous with SWOT analysis, Porter’s Five-forces, scenario planning, emerging market analytics, pricing theories, Emergent and Disruptive strategies, and numerous other analytical and systematic approaches to developing the best strategy.
The important thing is not having a strategy, it’s getting it implemented! ~Jack Welch
But in terms of strategy execution, most organisations are still “playing with the wooden Dunlop Maxply”. The statistics are alarming; most strategies fail, not because of poor strategy, but because of poor execution. When a CEO is fired, 70% of the time it is for failing to deliver on the strategic objectives they promised the board and the market. And most execution failures are the result of executives and managers spending more time focusing on their functional objectives than the overall strategic objectives. What is commonly called “heavy silo focus”.
For the past several years we have been introducing our clients to a new, integrated “Fastbreak Strategy Execution Process”, along with a management platform that breaks down the silo-based culture by organising and focusing the entire company on the successful delivery of strategic objectives. This robust process, detailed in the book, FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution, helps build a culture of execution and accountability and represents the best chance organisations have of executing at pace against their strategy.
Those of us of a certain age probably have a soft spot for the original Dunlop Maxply. Maybe one day we’ll have a sentimental attachment to the old silo-based ways of business planning and execution. But in today’s changing and competitive global marketplace, unless you have a robust strategy execution process in place and an aligned leadership team, you really might as well play with a fly swatter!
See the review of LEVERAGE in The Economist (January 9, 2014).
John also writes thriller novels: novels.johnrchildress.com