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