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Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 007-6092034506
ISBN-10: 013146745X
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Editorial Reviews


From Kirkus Reports, February 10, 2005 Volume 2, Issue 1

Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change
Lawrence G. Hrebiniak
Publisher: Wharton School Publishing
Pub Date: January 2005

In what could be an excellent companion piece to either branding book mentioned this month, Wharton professor Hrebiniak deconstructs the grand theories and explores what it takes to work in the real world. He starts by discussing what doesn’t work–when managers dream up ambitious scenarios but leave the execution to their underlings, things are bound to go wrong. In other words: formula is easy; execution is hard. Ownership, according to Hrebiniak, is the key to success, and he moves clearly through the many steps of taking strategy from the theoretical to the concrete. There are sections devoted to all the common pitfalls: information sharing, providing appropriate incentives, and managing culture change. Case studies of big corporations and the challenges they met or flubbed provide a real-world look at the stakes involved. The author also provides an examination of power and influence as they relate to execution, and a section that demonstrates how his theories could be applied to recent M&As. In all, a mercifully cut-and-dry, clear-eyed view of one way in which businesses can succeed or fail.

About the Author

About the Author

Dr. Lawrence Hrebiniak is a professor in the Department of Management of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a member of the Wharton faculty since 1976, and currently teaches courses in strategic management and strategy implementation in the Wharton M.B.A. and Executive Education programs. He held several managerial positions in industry prior to entering academia, and is a past president of the Organization Theory Division of the Academy of Management. For over two years, he was one of five Wharton faculty providing commentaries on the Wharton Management Report, a daily program on the Financial News Network.

His consulting activities and executive development programs focus on strategy implementation, the formulation of strategy, and organizational design, both inside and outside the U.S. Dr. Hrebiniak's clients have included Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Chemical Bank, Isuzu (Japan), Weyerhauser, Dun & Bradstreet, DuPont, Management Centre (Europe), the Social Security Administration, First American Bankshares, General Motors (U.S., Brazil, Japan, Venezuela), Chase Manhattan, Studio Amrosetti (Milan), and GE.

Dr. Hrebiniak's current research is concerned primarily with strategy implementation, especially the relationships among strategy, structure and performance. He is also interested in strategic adaptation as organizations change over time to remain competitive. He has authored four books, including Implementing Strategy (PHPTR 1984) and The We-Force in Management (Jossey-Bass, Inc. 1994).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press (January 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013146745X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131467453
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on May 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have often felt that many times the leadership of a company or even division was all about defining the strategy, where are we going and what are the overall goals. It was then up to the next level of management to make it happen. I am a manager and like most managers I have had a few occasions when I new where we should be going, I felt I clearly set the direction, but something in the execution failed and we did noting but waste a lot of time to get half measures. The world is full of good plans that failed due to poor performance. This book explains that a true leader needs to keep the execution of the strategy in mind when creating the direction. Combine the two and get your hands dirty in the working of the plan. This book is all about getting the job done, covering the processes and actions that need to get done to make solid strategies work.

The author created this book from real life experiences, either his own or those of case studies and interviews. He is giving the reader solid techniques derived from real world examples that were a success. I also got a great deal out of the final chapter. The author shows the reader how to apply what he has detailed in the book into a real life problem. Making a strategy come together and really work is either good management or luck and most of us are not that lucky. This book gives you the tools for making strategies work. What I liked about the book is even though the author is aiming for the CEO chair with the book, the methods he talks about could be used by any level of management on any size of project. The book is well written and enjoyable. It is well work your time.
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Format: Hardcover
Corporate strategy was a relatively new subject when I first became a strategy consultant in 1971. I remember executives picking bad strategies right and left and being totally clueless about how to implement a good strategy if they happened upon one.

Making Strategy Work is a good reminder that there are still organizations out there that have never picked a strategy that worked or implemented a workable strategy successfully. Yet these organizations are full of graduates of the most stellar business schools who know all the strategic management and planning lingo.

Professor Hrebiniak starts with the academic strategic lingo and clearly distills the key lessons of choosing and implementing strategies into bite-sized pieces for large organizations to implement.

It's not surprising that this book is filled with examples from the old AT&T and its remaining pieces, General Motors, Sears and other organizations known for their strategic problems. Mr. Hrebiniak has been there and done that in consulting for such organizations for many years, and describes their mind set well.

Naturally, if you are of more innovative and entrepreneurial orientation, you won't find this book nearly as interesting. But it's an important contribution to the literature that I'm surprised that someone didn't write long before now.

Well, they sort of did write this book before now. You can find pieces of this book in various books and articles . . . but Making Strategy Work is a convenient place to find all of those pieces in one place . . . for those who haven't developed and implemented a successful strategy before to get a sense of what they should be doing.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gerry Stern on March 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Based on the experiences of managers, the book focuses on the knowledge, skills and capabilities managers need to execute strategy. It presents an integrated approach, presenting and detailing key execution decisions, incorporating central change-management issues. The final chapter shows how to apply the logic, insights, and guidance presented in this work. Of special note is that one chapter is devoted to motivation, incentives, and the control process encompassing accountability, responsibility and leadership. If you want a book to help guide turning your strategic plan into performance and profits, this book is right on target. Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Consultant on January 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of business books. Usually they all say the same thing. "Making Strategy Work" is different. Rather than focus on "strategy formulation" or on "execution", the book LINKS strategy formulation with execution. A professor at Wharton Business School, Larry Hrebiniak does an excellent job laying out the building blocks for assembling an execution-focused organization in simple language, and supplement his approach with numerous case examples. There are many important messages in the book, almost one on every page. This book is the missing link that makes a difference between successful strategy and one that fails. A very important guide for every CEO.
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Format: Hardcover
Lawrence Hbrebiniak's "Making Strategy Work" is billed as a comprehensive roadmap and process model for executing strategy. This is absolutely what this book contains. Giving excellent examples from top firms like GE and Dell, the author lists the processes to use in simple to complex business situations where the executive manager can lay out a plan to execute their business strategy.

Executing strategy is by no means easy. This is why good managers get the top bucks. Along the way from plan to accomplishment are a number of difficult roadblocks. Not the least of these is communication. The chapter on coordination and communication follows the chapter on organizational structure. This is not by accident. A proper structure allows the flow of vital information down and up.

First and foremost, however, is having the right strategy in place. A decision to fund a feeble project is not going to have a happy outcome, no matter how efficient the organization and clever the execution. Corporate culture is another important factor, and Professor Hrebiniak doesn't neglect to discuss in a very clear way how a corporate culture must be managed to effect a good strategic plan. If you look at some of the notable failures in the last 10 years in some Fortune 100 firms where change in strategy was vital, not a few of the lapses were due to a failure to assess and manage changes that faced an uphill battle against the prevailing culture. The author links culture and behavior: shared values and norms--"The way we do things"; A common vision /Credo--"How we compete" "How we treat each other"; common goals and incentives-- and "Risk Taking and Innovation.
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