“Strat­egy That Works” closes strat­egy-to-ex­e­cu­tion gap

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Kevin J. Stans­field, Prin­ci­pal at Strat­egy&, mem­ber of the PwC in­ter­na­tional net­work, pre­sented the book pub­lished in co­op­er­a­tion with the Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view dur­ing an event held in Ni­cosia.

Based on new re­search, the book re­veals five prac­tices for closing the strat­egy-toex­e­cu­tion gap used by to­day’s win­ning com­pa­nies. Packed with tools ex­ec­u­tives can use for build­ing these five prac­tices into their or­gan­i­sa­tion, it is a pow­er­ful guide to con­nect­ing where en­ter­prises aim to go and what they can ac­com­plish.

analy­ses the ways in which a busi­ness can elim­i­nate the chasm be­tween a the­o­ret­i­cal busi­ness strat­egy and its ac­tual im­ple­men­ta­tion, with the ul­ti­mate goal of achiev­ing the de­sired growth rate. It is es­sen­tially a prac­ti­cal guide with steps to­wards the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of strate­gies by busi­nesses, based on an in­depth study of 14 in­ter­na­tional en­ter­prises which built their suc­cess by util­is­ing their par­tic­u­lar ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The au­thors (Paul Lein­wand, Global Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Strat­egy&, and Ce­sare Mainardi, for­mer CEO of Booz & Com­pany and Strat­egy&) are con­sid­ered lead­ers in mat­ters of strat­egy.

Ac­cord­ing to the au­thors, “the most com­mon or­gan­i­sa­tional so­lu­tion is the cross-func­tional team: a com­mit­tee of peo­ple drawn from the rel­e­vant departments to solve par­tic­u­lar prob­lems. Un­for­tu­nately, many cross-func­tional teams fall far short of de­liv­er­ing ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient so­lu­tions. They rarely have the time they need to re­solve their dif­fer­ent ways of think­ing. They are also lim­ited by their con­flict­ing func­tional pri­or­i­ties and some­times by a lack of clear ac­count­abil­ity. What’s more, many of these teams are tem­po­rary; they will dis­solve once the project is over, and their mem­bers may not work to­gether again. There are also far too many of these teams, and the more there are, the more they tend to pro­lif­er­ate. When all cross-func­tional teams are tem­po­rary, an or­gan­i­sa­tion has lit­tle in­cen­tive to over­come these hur­dles.”

The book ar­gues, how­ever, that per­ma­nent cross-func­tional teams tend to fare bet­ter.

“A grow­ing num­ber of long-stand­ing in­no­va­tion groups, for ex­am­ple, bring to­gether dis­parate func­tional skills (typ­i­cally R&D, mar­ket­ing, cus­tomer in­sights, and IT) to fa­cil­i­tate the launch of new prod­ucts or ser­vices. Some of these teams are rel­a­tively in­for­mal, whereas others in­volve ma­jor shifts to the or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture. In one case, to de­velop its port­fo­lio man­age­ment ca­pa­bil­ity, Pfizer Con­sumer (be­fore it was sold in 2006) set up com­mu­ni­ties of prac­tice: semi-for­mal on­go­ing net­works that in­cluded lawyers, health pro­fes­sion­als, and mar­ket­ing ex­perts. These com­mu­ni­ties helped spread key ideas and best prac­tices to brand and prod­uct groups around the world.”

The au­thors sug­gest that from per­ma­nent cross-func­tional teams, it’s only a small step to hav­ing for­mal ca­pa­bil­i­ties teams.

“These op­er­ate out­side the func­tional struc­ture en­tirely, led by top ex­ec­u­tives with newly cre­ated job de­scrip­tions: Chief Dig­i­tal, Risk, or In­no­va­tion Of­fi­cer. Mem­bers of these teams, no mat­ter how spe­cialised their skills, fol­low a cross-func­tional ca­reer, re­port­ing to peo­ple who may not share their back­ground but who have a com­mon com­mit­ment to the ca­pa­bil­ity and all the projects as­so­ci­ated with it. The func­tional departments, in­stead of man­ag­ing projects, fo­cus on learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment and spe­cial­ized guid­ance for the rel­e­vant staff as­signed to ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Ex­am­ples in­clude the IKEA sus­tain­abil­ity team and Natura’s sup­ply-chain man­age­ment coun­cil, whose purview in­cludes sourc­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, lo­gis­tics, and as­pects of the re­la­tion­ship with sales con­sul­tants. The ca­pa­bil­i­ties team model can be likened to a sym­phony or­ches­tra; the con­duc­tor is re­spon­si­ble for the whole work, but if a soloist needs help, he or she will turn to masters of the par­tic­u­lar in­stru­ment for guid­ance.”

At the end of the event, PwC Cyprus an­nounced its new pro­gramme to sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses, which was launched this year. The new pro­gramme aims to utilise the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s spe­cialised knowl­edge to the ben­e­fit of the lo­cal busi­ness sec­tor. PwC said it will place a se­ries of new ac­tions as well as events, con­fer­ences and other busi­ness­re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties or­gan­ised by the or­gan­i­sa­tion for the year 2016-2017 un­der the pro­gramme’s um­brella.

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