Two-thirds of executives say that their organizations don’t have the capabilities to support their strategies, with 80% admitting that their overall strategy is not well understood, even within their own organization.
The first question, of course, is why is this is happening? The second obvious question is: How to fix it?
That’s at the heart of a new book, “Strategy: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap” by Paul Leinwand,Cesare Mainardi and Art Kleiner.
They say that the key is focusing on “unconventional leadership,” which includes what they call “committing to an identity.”
But at a time when markets are moving so fast and new competition seems to pop up every day, does that mean a company has to decide what it does best and stick to it?
“Leaders are told: ‘Be agile. Be responsive. Go where the opportunities are.’ But unless those opportunities fit with the capabilities and value proposition you already have, they lead to incoherence. Incoherent companies fall behind,” the authors say.
Being agile sounds appealing, but the truth is that most organizations “can’t turn on a dime,” and instantly move their business model to new opportunities, they say.
“The companies that manage change best recognize that they have a responsibility to create their own demand, creating the change that will benefit them, rather than defensively adjusting to market disruption,” they say, citing companies such as Apple, Frito-Lay, Starbucks and Inditex (Zara).
“They have all overcome disruption in spectacular ways, but not by becoming more agile. They do it by taking advantage of the prowess, perspective and creativity inherent in their own distinctive capabilities,” the authors say.
At the same time, they caution organizations that committing to an identity “does not mean stagnation” and organizations can’t just ignore what’s happening in the marketplace. Instead, companies must be deliberate about what they do and make changes that will build on existing strengths.
For example, Amazon got into cloud computing in a way that builds on its existing capabilities (read more here)