Strategy Doesn't Hold a Candle to Execution

In what appears to be a very deeply researched book, author Laurence Haughton claims that strategy is far less important than a devotion to execute upon that strategy.

In discussing why some companies are able to consistently out-perform their competitors by executing on a corporate strategy, Haughton identifies four critical building blocks: setting a clear direction, assembling the right people, getting "buy-in" from employees and management, and establishing a culture that encourages individual initiative. However, assembling these four building blocks within any company is easier said than done, as Haughton points out in a chapter called "Outmaneuvering the CAVE People":

"The single, most powerful piece of advice for overcoming the law of inertia and thereby improving your organization's follow-through can be summed up in four words: outmaneuver the CAVE people.

In this context, CAVE stands for "citizens against virtually everything." Just as our bodies have an immune system that assaults everything new and unfamiliar, organizations have their own auto-immune response that instinctively and impulsively attacks every new idea, novel solution, and call for change. Overtly and covertly, these antibodies in human form (aka the CAVE people) chip away at your team's willingness to trust and try new things, poisoning the environment in order to keep necessary changes from taking hold...

Like doctors preparing a patient for a transplant, managers must take steps to outmaneuver the inevitable onslaught by the CAVE people. These steps must be planned and implemented before your team can begin to follow through."

If you've ever wondered why your company has so many failings and yet so many smart people, this could be the place to start.


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