Executing Strategy

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The 2014 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 2 min 

This year’s winning article on planned change and organizational development is “Making Mergers Work,” by Hamid Bouchikhi and John R. Kimberly. The authors examine why mergers and acquisitions so often fail to achieve the results and synergies they promise. “Our work in this field has convinced us that there is no ‘one best way’ but rather four distinct paths that can be followed to achieve identity integration: assimilation, federation, confederation and metamorphosis,” they write.

Image courtesy of Adriana Cisneros

The Art of Strategic Renewal

What does it take to transform an organization before a crisis hits? How can leaders initiate major transformations proactively? The key often lies in strategic renewal — a set of practices that can guide leaders into a new era of innovation by building strategy, experimentation and execution into the day-to-day fabric of the organization. It’s not easy: leaders find it much easier to resist change than to embrace it.

Nilofer Merchant

How Social Tools Can Help Your Company Avoid Strategic Failure

Although most companies think “social media” when they hear the word social, author, consultant and business executive Nilofer Merchant says firms need to expand their understanding, and think about the transformative ways social tools change how an enterprise operates.

Among the fundamental ways social technologies alter companies include removing bottlenecks in decision making, freeing work from jobs; leveraging customers as co-creators; and getting customers to engage around a shared value.

Image courtesy of KONE Corp.

The Art of Piloting New Initiatives

Successful multinationals get that way by finding better ways to leverage operational improvements across the entire company. But developing such superior processes is not easy. New operational ideas fail for many reasons. One of the most common is not that the idea was bad, but that the developers set up a pilot that failed to persuade managers in the units that the process was an improvement. Successful pilots share three qualities: credibility, replicability and feasibility.

Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, President and CEO of Statkraft

The Power to Adapt: Building One of the World’s Largest Renewables Power Producers

The ability to create strategies and adapt to changing conditions quickly is critical for maintaining a competitive edge, says Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, the CEO of Statkraft, one of the largest power producers in the world. Building the organizational structures to support that demands shared values and solid management.

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Enabling Bold Visions

A CEO’s new vision often blurs into an indistinct image once the initial blitz is over. To ensure that the vision is more than just a daydream, companies should follow a five-phase model that some organizations have used successfully to avoid disaster or complacency.

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The Strategic Communication Imperative

Companies that continue to take a tactical, short-term approach to communicating with key constituencies will find it increasingly difficult to compete. Developing an integrated, strategic approach to communications will be critical to success.

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Mastering Strategic Movement at Palm

How do you compete with opponents that have size, strength and history on their side? The authors use Palm Computing (later Palm Inc.) to illustrate how the core principles of judo strategy — movement, balance and leverage. The offer lessons and specific techniques that other companies can emulate in order to compete successfully with a stronger player.

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