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on January 3, 2008
While the book is titled, "Executing the Strategy" it might more accurately be titled "Organizational Alignment" - strategy being only one, albeit the most central, of the domains of the Authors' brilliant and comprehensive Strategic Execution Framework (SEF).

Readers may miss one of the more subtle but most important gifts of the book which is to recognize that most failures in strategic execution come from not managing the interfaces between the various domains of the corporate organism, defined in the SEF: Ideation (Identity, Purpose, Long-Range Intention), Vision (Strategy, Goals, Metrics), Nature( Strategy, Culture, Organizational Structure), Engagement (Strategy, Portfolio Management), Synthesis (Portfolio Management, Program Management, Project Management), and Transition (Program Management, Project Management and Operations).

Theory of Constraints and Six Sigma aficionados take note: the greatest unaccounted for source of variability in organizational performance occurs at the interfaces between these SEF domains. Today, most organizations do not manage these interfaces at more than a superficial level, if at all. Further, the strategy domain directly interfaces with more areas of the corporate organism than any other: culture, structure, goals, metrics, and portfolio. It is no wonder that 70-90% of companies are consistently failing to execute strategies successfully.

The book succeeds well in setting out the SEF, but don't expect guidance on how to go about setting vision or strategy or improving project or portfolio management, changing culture, or setting the right metrics. Rather, each of these domains represents large bodies of knowledge, and this book's purpose is to identify them, and define the interfaces between them. The subtitle, "How to Break it Down & Get it Done" might imply the presence of more nitty-gritty how-to's than this book sets out to provide.

Another major takeaway is that the "lowly" discipline of project management will be the cornerstone of successfully executing strategy in combination with the SEF. Strategy is not just about upper management setting a bold vision in a weekend retreat and saying, "make it so". Strategic planning must account for the ripple effects through all of the organizational domains, and projects need to be chartered, resourced and managed between and within domains for the strategy to be carried off successfully.

The authors provide numerous compelling real-world examples; including many from their own consulting practices to demonstrate how correct organizational alignment leads to success and misalignment leads to failure. The authors have particular experience and success with larger organizations, where the SEF particularly shines. This book is an outstanding and seminal contribution to organizational alignment and strategic execution.
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on December 28, 2007
Books on strategy formulation are plentiful, but relatively few have been written on executing strategy. This book is a major contribution in this arena, providing an insightful path for moving from strategy to ongoing operations.

The authors provide a useful six-part model ("strategic execution framework"). As very briefly highlighted by the authors, the six parts are:

- clarifying and communicating identity, purpose, and long-term intention;
- aligning strategy, culture and structure;
- translating long-term intentions into goals, metrics and strategy;
- engaging strategy via the project investments stream;
- monitoring and continuously aligning project work with strategy; and
- transferring projects to operations.
A chapter is devoted to each of these aspects of the model. Reading the chapters will enable you to fully understand and appreciate its usefulness in operational context and from a leadership standpoint.

A keystone is the role of project management in transforming strategic intentions into operational realities.

This book is well organized, crisply written, and rich with practical content, including diagrams, tables, and rating scales to measure your organization. Overall, the authors have created a standout-achievement that will be of value to any organizational leader.
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on March 23, 2008
I loved this book. It discusses the essential ingredients to getting from the status quo to a new level in business. Companies need strategies to make a buck. And as time moves forward the strategies have to change in order to be able to continue to make a buck. Whether you are a founder of a startup who wants to create a dynamite business plan, or the leader of an existing business, this book will have something for you.

The book is relatively simple. It only contains 6 chapters, the topics of which include: ideation, vision, nature, engagement, synthesis, and transition. If these six terms don't jump out at you while you read this review, they will after you finish the book. Many people have trouble understanding how to take a strategy and convert it into reality. That is what this book is all about.

This book will help you figure out the best way to execute a strategy so you can do the the right things correctly. If you have to execute a strategy, then use this book to help you first figure what the right things you need to do are. And then use it to help you figure out how to do those things correctly. 5 stars!
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on July 12, 2011
There are millions of projects that fail each year due to lack of execution on strategy. Many projects find it difficult to transition from purpose to goal, culture to structure, metrics, strategy, projects and then to operations. The largest hurdle is being able to fit projects to the culture and using metrics that actually measure. The authors go on to outline the Strategic Execution Framework (SEF) that is the core to project success. The SEF is also the foundation to the Stanford University program on Advance Project Management. One of the core values is selecting the right projects, where effective strategy is choosing to do the right things and execution is doing those things right. One of the key aspects of this book is how it dives into the decision making process in that a company cannot do it all, so you must make choices that are non biased and lead to an effective use of resources. Another key area that is discuss is how many companies do not know when to stop a failed project and do have the right milestones in place to measure when it might beneficial cut the severed artery and stop the blood loss. Overall, this is a great book for learning how to go from a good project manager to a great project manager. There is an expectation that the reader has performed as a project manager at some point in their career. Overall really good book.
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on April 3, 2008
To succeed in business it's not just a matter of coming up with good ideas, it's being able to come up with good ideas along with effective ways to implement them. "Executing Your Strategy: How to Break It Down & Get It Done" is the collaborative effort of Mark Morgan (Chief Learning Officer, IPSolutions Inc. and Practice Director of the Stanford Advanced Project Management Program), Raymond E. Levitt (Professor of Civil and Environmental engineering, Stanford University, and Academic Director of the Stanford Advanced Project Management Program), William Malek (Strategy Execution Officer, Strategy2Reality LLC). Corporate executives are show how they can transform strategies into action and in the process, insure successful business outcomes. Six basic steps in this process are covered exhaustively: Ideation; Vision; Nature (corporate culture); Engagement; Synthesis; and Transition. These are principles and concepts that apply to profit-making and non-profit organizations and enterprises alike. Articulate, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Executing Your Strategy" is a compendium of practical 'tips, tricks and techniques' that should be considered 'must reading' for anyone with a management responsibility, and is a highly recommended, core addition to academic and community library Business Management & Leadership Studies reference collections.
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on December 22, 2007
At last - a book that offers the tools for systematically converting strategy into action! I was first introduced to the Strategic Execution Framework (SEF) through Stanford's Advanced Project Management series two years ago. I've successfully used the the SEF to align what we develop to the corporate strategy. Now, as projects are implemented as production systems, I'm using the SEF to align operational processes to the strategy. The book provides the language and the framework to systematically diagnose and correct the execution problems we saw but didn't know how to solve. There are a lot of books on strategy formulation and project management, but very few demonstrate how effective project management is the bridge between strategy and the end-result. This is a must-read for anyone wanting to implement change! Its all about doing the right thing, right!
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on January 16, 2008
With all of the titles focused on better strategy execution, it's easy to wonder if there is anything new left to be written that is worthy of close study. In this case, I found it to contain some true insights in its focus and message.

The first contribution of the book is a pictorial description of the organizational activities needed for strategy execution. It is referred to as the Strategy Execution Framework, or SEF. While not necessarily a new concept, the book does display an unusually clear set of inter-related linkages between the organizational activities -- all the way from the highest strategic planning activities down to the front lines of tactical project management.

So, my first recommendation is to read the book with any eye toward fully appreciating the inter-relationships between the areas in the SEF. Reflect on if they exist and how they operate in your own organization. This is an important seed to plant in your mind.

Second, focus on Chapter 4. To me, the acute specialty of this book is in its assertion that most organizations fail in strategy execution because executives do not understand and personally take part in the alignment, selection, and oversight of projects, programs, and portfolios that work 'on the business,' 'in the business', and on 'transforming the business.' As a seasoned practitioner, I could not agree more.

I recommend reading 'Executing Your Strategy' with the specific intent of figuring out how to improve this gap in your own organization. Nearly every organization I've worked with has this weakness to some degree. Solving this issue could be one of the most significant changes in your organization for the New Year.
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on January 8, 2008
Using a wide variety of useful examples from global businesses, Executing Your Strategy provides a highly usable framework for understanding those factors that influence what must be done to successfully execute your strategy. Useful questions and summaries for actions at the end of each chapter let the reader apply the concepts for their particular organization.
Full disclosure: I have worked with all the authors and actually applied the strategic execution framework (SEF) developed in the book for a wide variety of clients--the best reference I can provide is that it is extremely useful in helping organizations of all types (including non-profits)actually prepare for and execute their strategy on Monday morning. It is not shelf-ware. Executing Your Strategy is worth your time and worth sharing with key leaders on your team.
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on January 29, 2008
Executives, project managers, and engineers in the construction, aerospace, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as researchers of project-based organization and strategic management, will greatly enjoy this book!

"Executing Your Strategy" offers a holistic, integrative framework to ensure alignment between an organization's purpose, identity, and long range vision; strategy, structure, and culture; goals and metrics; and project, program and portfolio processes.

Intriguing examples from industry leaders are provided to show how the conceptual framework applies in practice.

The book also draws new links between the strategic management and project management literatures, which represent important theoretical advances.

Overall, an important contribution, both theoretically novel and practically relevant!
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on March 5, 2009
These days you find books that study the market and behavior of organizations and find good practices, try to formulate the good/bad and do/don't with a lot of valuable examples like "Competing on Analytics" on how other people did it.

Then there are other books that give frameworks to actually implement such "strategies" or practices. This book is of this type.

It gave very nice tips like the framework imperatives and the idea of implementing strategy - and the organization itself - as programs and projects. I've got to say that the introduction and conclusion is the best in the book. However, while it gives you a framework to implement, I would rather say it is far lacking in this area. Much is being taken from other people's work. And while authors do that, like Williams & Williams did the something in their "The Profit Impact of Business Intelligence", authors usually merge that in their approaches to enrich the content and increase benefits. This book did not do that.

I have to say I am a little disappointed, especially when they deal with other's experiences say "they fail to know" as if everything is figured out when you do not actually see extensive work in the book. I think that the starting idea of the book is very solid and well-though of but the making this into a book was not well-executed (which is kind-of the idea of the book; execution). I think if the source article of the book is read, it would be valuable and enough, and I will be looking for more from the authors in future writings.
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