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Kasper Zülow

Mankins, M. C., & Steele, R. (2005). Turning great strategy into great performance. Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 64-72

Mankins and Steele’s 2005 article, “Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance,” published in the Harvard Business Review, discusses the disconnect that often occurs between strategy and execution in companies. They argue that a company’s success relies not only on its strategy but also on its ability to execute that strategy effectively.

The authors highlight the fact that many companies have difficulty executing their strategies, and as a result, they fail to achieve their goals. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including a lack of alignment within the organization, insufficient resources, inadequate communication, and a lack of accountability. Mankins and Steele emphasize that companies must focus on execution as well as strategy in order to succeed.

The authors offer a framework for improving execution in organizations. The framework is based on three key principles: focus, alignment, and agility. They argue that companies must first identify the critical few initiatives that will have the greatest impact on their success and focus their resources on those initiatives. They then need to ensure that everyone in the organization is aligned with those initiatives and that they understand their role in achieving them. Finally, companies must be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and be agile enough to make necessary adjustments to their plans.

Mankins and Steele also emphasize the importance of creating a culture of accountability within the organization. They argue that companies must hold individuals and teams accountable for achieving their goals, and they must reward those who do so. They suggest that companies should use a balanced scorecard approach to measure performance and align incentives with the company’s goals.

The authors provide several examples of companies that have successfully executed their strategies. For example, they discuss how Best Buy was able to turn around its struggling business by focusing on a few key initiatives, such as improving customer service and increasing employee training. They also highlight how UPS was able to improve its efficiency by implementing a system that optimized its delivery routes.

Mankins and Steele conclude that companies that are able to execute their strategies effectively have a significant competitive advantage. They argue that companies must focus on both strategy and execution in order to succeed, and they provide a framework for improving execution that is based on focus, alignment, and agility. The authors suggest that companies that are able to create a culture of accountability and align incentives with their goals are more likely to achieve success.

In summary, Mankins and Steele’s article provides valuable insights into the importance of execution in achieving business success. Their framework for improving execution provides a practical guide for companies looking to improve their performance, and their examples illustrate how effective execution can lead to significant improvements in business outcomes. Overall, this article is a must-read for any business leader looking to improve their organization’s execution and achieve greater success.

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Kasper Riis Zülow