Book Summary: From Strategy to Execution

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I was recently sent a summary of a 2008 book, “From Strategy to Execution: Turning Accelerated Global Change into Opportunity” by Daniel Pantaleo and Nirmal Pal (Springer). It is ridiculously expensive, but you can buy it now from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or Kalahari.net.

I think the reason for the price is that it is one of those compilation books with contributions from many different experts. That would certainly make sense of the summary, which seems to cover almost every strategy and execution topic available, with not a lot of flow from start to end.

Having said that, I was particularly interested in the first section of the book that focused on the new strategic landscape businesses are facing these days. There were some interesting headlines in the summary, and I may end up buying the book to get the detail. See what you think…

The world is quickly changing, and managers must respond to seven new phenomena:

1. Globalization – Globalization is dispersing the centers of economic power. Brazil, Russia, India and China, often called the BRIC countries, are rapidly becoming as important as the U.S., Japan and Europe – and eastern European, South American and Asian countries will soon follow. Already, the creation of economic value by a single company depends on interconnections that span several continents.

2. Innovation – Two critical management concerns are emerging: innovation in products and services, and innovation in business models themselves. Companies must learn to understand their value chains, identify their markets and manage their relationships with suppliers and distributors in new ways.

3. Strategic analysis – Using analytics is a powerful way to drive business strategy. Sophisticated analytical technologies are indispensable to dealing with the deluge of information confronting corporate managers.

4. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) – Good corporate citizenship has become a strategic imperative. Corporations need to convince the public that they are not only producing high-quality products and services but are also making positive contributions to the community. CSR strategy is at least as challenging as any other business strategy and merits equally thorough planning.

5. Accessible knowledge – Enterprises increasingly depend on knowledge work and knowledge workers. These workers may be inclined to work alone and to keep information to themselves. However, recent research indicates that stereotypes about knowledge workers are wrong. They do not need cappuccino machines or nap rooms to function. Companies must learn what really motivates this population, and encourage communication between them and the rest of the organization.

6. Alignment of business and information technology (IT) – Formerly a world of its own, IT is now a business tool. The new measure of IT performance is the effectiveness with which it supports business strategies and achieves business goals. Firms increasingly demand real-time, action-oriented information from their IT departments.

7. Emergence of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – Technologies that make information easily accessible have contributed to the proliferation of SMEs. Small companies staffed with knowledge workers can participate in a worldwide value chain.



Six economic trends are changing the competitive playing field:

1. Customer power – Increasing transparency and access to information is putting more power in the hands of customers. In some cases, consumers help determine not only how businesses design and deliver products, but also what business models they use. Often those customers are located in developing countries.

2. Ascendance of information and services – Manufacturing and agricultural work are waning as the primary means of value creation in the global economy, while services and information are waxing. Information workers are in short supply, and most of them are, or will soon be, located in developing nations.

3. Compliance pressures – As regulations become more stringent, executives are going beyond the requirements and emphasizing their CSR credentials.

4. Capital market integration – The integration of global capital markets is increasing the availability of capital; however, it is also a source of unanticipated risk. Industry consolidation threatens small and medium-sized enterprises, which tend to become overly dependent on just a few customers.

5. New business models – Many companies are changing their business models. In some cases, such as in entertainment and media companies, innovative technologies have made their traditional business models obsolete. In others, companies are trying to dodge the bullet of commoditization by adopting new models.

6. Business-driven IT – A growing number of chief information officers have backgrounds in non-IT areas. IT is not merely about lowering costs but about developing new business models.

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