Simons, a professor at Harvard Business School in accounting, management control, and strategic implementation employs a simple approach in his book toward helping organizations achieve better strategic execution. This approach involves addressing seven key strategic questions (and their follow-ups in the back of the book) which should be in every executive’s playbook:
- Who is your primary customer?
- How do your core values prioritize shareholders, employees, and customers?
- What critical performance variables are you tracking?
- What strategic boundaries have you set?
- How are you generating creative tension?
- How committed are your employees to helping each other?
- What strategic uncertainties keep you awake at night?
Simon uses his experience consulting with large financial services, pharma and food companies, among others, to illustrate his points of view.
I found Question 5 (generating creative tension) to be of particular interest because it is one of the primary strategic execution drivers in any organization. How to create an “innovation culture” to motivate employees toward risk-taking as well as communicating and sharing those learnings across the enterprise are keys to unlocking and sustaining long-term business success.
A quick read and very instructive.