How to close the strategy-to-execution gap: five acts of unconventional leadership

Strategy That WorksIn Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap, Paul Leinwand and Cesare R. Mainardi (with Art Kleiner) point out that two-thirds of executives say their organizations don’t have the capabilities to support their strategy. Leinwand and Mainardi explain why.

They identify conventional business practices that unintentionally create a gap between strategy and execution. And they show how some of the best companies in the world consistently leap ahead of their competitors.

Based on new research, the authors reveal five practices for connecting strategy and execution used by highly successful enterprises such as IKEA, Natura, Danaher, Haier, and Lego.

Here are the five acts of unconventional leadership that are gap closers:

1. Instead of focusing on growth, commit to an identity: Differentiate and grow by being clear-minded about what you can do best

2. Instead of pursuing functional excellence, translate the strategic into everyday life: Build and connect the cross-functional capabilities that deliver your strategic intent

3. Instead of reorganizing to drive change, put your culture to work: Celebrate and leverage your cultural strengths

4. Instead of going lean, cut costs to grow stronger: Prune what doesn’t matter to invest more in what does

5. Instead of becoming agile and resilient, shape your future: Reimagine your capabilities, create demand, and realign your industry on your own terms

“The five acts of unconventional leadership take different forms in different companies, but there is a family resemblance across all of them. They are all critical to engendering management habits that keep strategy and execution closely integrated, so there is no gap between them. Together, they comprise a playbook for creating sustainable value.” All five are discussed in some detail (Pages 12-19).

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Paul Leinwand is Global Managing Director, Capabilities-Driven Strategy and Growth, with Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, and a principal with PwC U.S. To learn more about Paul, please click here.

Cesare R. Mainardi is a business strategy author, professor, and the former Chief Executive Officer of global management consultancy Booz & Company (now Strategy&). To learn more about Cesare, please click here.

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