1. We’re (still) bad at strategy execution

Massive government IT projects that get bogged down, private sector mergers that never deliver the projected synergies, big restructurings that go off the rails, and cultural change programs that evaporate into thin air. Organizations are full of good intentions, but these intentions often end up paving the proverbial road to hell. This is nothing new. Organizations are notoriously bad at strategy execution. The numbers are shocking. Estimates of the failure rate range from 60 to 90%. Even if we take a highly critical view of these percentages, the failure rate is never less than 50%.

2. We live in times of disruption

The second reason we have to prioritize strategy execution is the disruptive times we live in. I described its characteristics in Het nieuwe normaal [The New Normal]. The main effects are that revenue models are crumbling before our eyes, industries are converging and new organizations—with new revenue models—can wipe out existing companies in one fell swoop. Think of the travel industry, the music industry or manufacturers of rolls of film. Organizations have undergone more change in the first decade of the 21st century than in the last five decades of the 20th century and this rate of change will only go up. A great era for those of us looking for opportunities.

Digitalization is disrupting markets. I’m assuming we’re all familiar with the term VUCA: our world is characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Continuity is no longer a given. Organizations that still want to be in the game in ten or twenty years simply need to get better at improving, renewing and innovating their business model. And public and semipublic organizations are not exempt either. Under intensifying social media pressure, politicians and citizens alike are demanding more transparency, lower costs, better service and greater effectiveness. Getting better at something w’ere bad at, that’s the challenge.

Figure 1 summarizes the facts that show why the new normal is so different. The trend is obvious: continuity is no longer a given, and the most important reason for this is clearly digitalization. In short:

  • The average lifespan of organizations is declinin
  • The turnover in market leadership (topple rate) is increasing
  • The typical product life cycle is getting shorter
  • Companies don’t stay in the S&P 500 for nearly as long
  • The number of bankruptcies of established companies is rising
  • An ever larger share of the profit comes from innovations
  • Innovations’ Time-to-Market is getting shorter
  • The number of patent applications is growing explosively

3. Strategy execution is not optional

Obviously, there are worse problems in the world today. Just take a look at the news. Even so, I am convinced that increasing our effectiveness in strategy execution is a big deal. We spend the better part of our lives working, so it’d better be on something worthwhile. People want their work to be meaningful and have a purpose. Organizations are now deliberately choosing which social values they want to reflect. We are outgrowing our old obsession with shareholder value. What counts now is value in terms of social responsibility, diversity and regional and national development. This ambition has become one of our main strategic goals. Effective strategy execution creates value and the means by which we formulate meaningful objectives.

Strategy = Execution. Improve, Renew and Innovate Faster

How can organizations make strategy execution their number one priority? And improve, renew and innovate faster? This I describe in my book Strategy = Execution. Strategy = execution is based on the research that Turner started years ago into the success factors of strategy execution and innovation. We interviewed 60 directors and professionals and analyzed more than 75 cases, 300 relevant books and articles.

  • More about Jacques Pijl (author) and Turner Consultancy.
  • The most popular interventions based on Strategy = Execution
  • 24 endorsements from organizational leaders
  • American management book of the year 2021, no. 1 in the category of strategic management, in the top 100 bestseller, seventh edition, translated into: English, German, Spanish, Russian and Bahasa.
  • Selection of the most important management books according to CEOs of innovative organizations (FD New Champions). Included in library of classics (mb.nl).
  • Nominated for Management Book of the Year.
  • Countless articles and interviews in FD, Emerce, Frankwatching and CFO.
  • Numerous Ted Talks and in-company workshops at the top 25-50 organizations, average rating 8.7.
  • More about Jacques Pijl (author) and Turner Consultancy
  • The most popular interventions based on Strategy = Execution
  • 24 endorsements from organizational leaders
  • American management book of the year 2021, no. 1 in the category of strategic management, in the top 100 bestseller, seventh edition, translated into: English, German, Spanish, Russian and Indonesian.
  • Selection of the most important management books according to CEOs of innovative organizations (FD New Champions). Included in library of classics (mb.nl).
  • Nominated for Management Book of the Year.
  • Countless articles and interviews in FD, Emerce, Frankwatching and CFO.
  • Numerous Ted Talks and in-company workshops at the top 25-50 organizations, average rating 8.7.

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Strategy = Execution wins an ‘Oscar’ for management books

Strategy = Execution, the international edition of Jacques Pijl’s bestselling management classic, has been awarded with a no. 1 position by Axiom, a prestigious and leading American Business Book jury and platform. Consultancy.eu writes about this ‘Oscar’ for management books. ​

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