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adaptable - Apr 9, 2021

Top Articles on Strategy Execution – March 2021

This is adaptable’s Top Ten list and Month-in-Review post for March 2021. Enjoy!

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Duke Corporate Education - Mar 1, 2021

The Rise Of Digital Leadership

As the technology revolution accelerates, Ryan McManus considers the leaders organizations need to succeed.

Read Article By Ryan McManus

Duke Corporate Education - Mar 1, 2021

Five Steps For Business Impact

Creating value is about exceeding expectations. For any business decision, we must understand the expectations of the decision-maker, and provide a path to exceed those expectations. For leaders and managers seeking approval from their colleagues in the finance function for new projects and initiatives, this is an increasingly urgent priority, because organizations are looking ever more closely at the ‘business impact’ of their resourcing decisions. Chief financial officers (CFOs) are increasingly following up on approved projects, examining whether the original promises that were made were achieved. The ‘fire-and-forget’ process for business cases, where approved cases are quickly forgotten as teams implement projects, is becoming rare. At the same time, many organizations are also increasing the amount of scrutiny before the business case is approved.

Read Article By Joe Perfetti

Harvard Business Review ($) - Mar 1, 2021

Persuading the Unpersuadable

We live in an age of polarization. Many of us may be asking ourselves how, when people disagree with or discount us, we can persuade them to rethink their positions. The author, an organizational psychologist, has spent time with a number of people who succeeded in motivating the notoriously self-confident Steve Jobs to change his mind and has analyzed the science behind their techniques. Some leaders are so sure of themselves that they reject good opinions and ideas from others and refuse to abandon their own bad ones. But, he writes, “it is possible to get even the most overconfident, stubborn, narcissistic, and disagreeable people to open their minds.” He offers some approaches that can help you encourage a know-it-all to recognize when there’s something to be learned, a stubborn colleague to make a U-turn, a narcissist to show humility, and a disagreeable boss to agree with you.

Read Article By Adam Grant
Source Photo: Eleni Kalorkoti

Harvard Business Review ($) - Mar 1, 2021

Are You Really Listening?

Senior leaders can become insulated from early signs of danger and opportunity. Here’s how to overcome that.

Read Article By Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer
Source Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

Harvard Business Review ($) - Mar 5, 2021

Data Is Great — But It’s Not a Replacement for Talking to Customers

Many companies rely too much on big data and analytics in their hunt for strategic insights.  They’d do better if they actually went out and talked to their customers instead, as Toyota and Adobe do, because data is too rooted in what managers already think their customers are interested in.

Read Article By Graham Kenny
Source Photo: kkgas/Stocksy

BCG - Mar 5, 2021

To Make Zero-Based Budgeting Work, Change Behavior

Over the past 12 months, the COVID-19 crisis has forced business leaders to double down on cost management, ensure liquidity, and scrutinize budgets. Apart from prompting short-term contingency measures—such as cutting back on marketing budgets or IT projects—the lockdowns have spurred cost reductions. Just consider the dramatically lower spending on travel that has accompanied the shift from physical meetings and events to virtual ones.

Read Article By Karin von Funck, Mark Austin, Donat Wunderlich, and Christina Schenk

strategy+business ($) - Mar 3, 2021

Can you master the inner game of leadership?

Conflicting demands and challenges must be managed. Here’s how.

Read Article By Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer
Source Photo: Illustration by Malte Mueller

Harvard Business Review ($) - Mar 2, 2021

Does Your Company Lurch from Crisis to Crisis?

Many organizations find themselves in a perpetual state of crisis and rely on company “heroes” to put out the fires. While many people love the feeling of saving the day, it shouldn’t be a way of life. If you’ve wondered why your organization performs well in a crisis but struggles otherwise, it may be time to pause and ask why. Your heroes may actually be revealing that you have a deeper problem. The author offers four ways to move away from a culture of perpetual crisis. First, understand that heroism is not a sign of commitment, but rather that it’s time to make changes in your organization. Second, make sure the way you’re allocating resources is realistic. Third, get better at cross-functional coordination. And finally, reward teams, not just individuals.

Read Article By Ron Carucci
Source Photo: HBR Staff/Klaus Vedfelt/Vitalii Barida/Getty Images

Harvard Business Review ($) - Feb 26, 2021

Financial Targets Don’t Motivate Employees

It’s natural for leaders to emphasize the importance of hitting financial targets, but making numbers the centerpiece of your leadership narrative is a costly mistake. Financial results are an outcome, they’re not a root driver for employee performance, and a growing body of evidence tells us that overemphasizing financial targets erodes morale and undermines long-term strategy. Leaders looking to motivate employees must instead use their time with their teams to build belief in the organizational purpose, the intrinsic value of the employees’ work, and the impact they have on customers, and each other. To do so, the authors recommend three tactics: 1) Reevaluate how you use your leadership airtime; 2) Discuss your customers with specificity and emotion; and 3) Resist the urge to widely share every measure of financial performance.

Read Article By Lisa Earle McLeod and Elizabeth Lotardo
Source Photo: Thomas Jackson/Getty Images

Harvard Business Review ($) - Mar 31, 2021

Don’t Let Financial Metrics Prematurely Stifle Innovation


In the early days of developing a new idea, the metrics that may be most germane are things like number of prototypes created and tested; number of customers interviewed; repeat users of a new software platform; number of parties that have been persuaded to participate in a new business ecosystem; or how efficiently you are shelving low-potential ideas in favor of those that resonate with customers or are feasible for your company to pursue (sometimes called “concept kill rate”.) But to build a durable engine of innovation inside your organization, you need a way of making the transition from those early activity metrics to a more defensible set of metrics demonstrating the impact and value you’re creating. That transition is a mix of engineering and gut feel — not unlike building an on-ramp and then using it to merge into zippy traffic.

Read Article By Scott Kirsner
Source Photo: HBR Staff/David Rumsey Map Collection

McKinsey & Company - Mar 30, 2021

How capability building can power transformation

A well-designed program to promote productive behavior and skills can not only energize an organization’s workforce but also become an essential element of any successful transformation.

Read Article By Hugh Bachmann, Dominic Skerritt, and Elizabeth Young McNally

BCG - Mar 29, 2021

Delivering on the Promise of First-Party Data

It’s no secret that first-party data—proprietary information that a company collects directly from the customer, with consent—is critical for improving relationships with customers and driving better business results. And such data will become even more essential for digital marketing success as increasing numbers of companies stop using third-party cookies to track website visitors. Moreover, BCG research has found that data-driven marketing can double revenue and increase cost savings by 1.6 times.

Read Article By Alannah Sheerin and James Cooper

Fast Company ($) - Mar 26, 2021

Chipotle is the latest company to get behind robot cars. Here’s why

Chipotle just invested big in an autonomous delivery company. Their CTO explains why and what the process will look like.

Read Article By Mark Wilson
Source Photo: [Photo: courtesy Chipotle]

Harvard Business Review ($) - Mar 26, 2021

How AI Can Help Companies Set Prices More Ethically

Using AI and data-driven tools, companies can change the price of a good or service based on who is buying, when they’re shopping, and myriad other factors. This power raises a question: Should ethics and societal values factor into these prices — and how? Companies should consider what they’re selling, who they’re selling to, and how they’re selling their products, and consider the range of possible impacts. Then, they should 1) get creative about reducing negative externalities, 2) reach out to stakeholders, and 3) build proactive filters into their pricing deliberations.

Read Article By Mark E. Bergen, Shantanu Dutta, James Guszcza, and Mark J. Zbaracki
Source Photo: ilbusca/Getty Images

E&Y - Mar 26, 2021

The CEO Imperative: How can today’s leaders realize tomorrow’s opportunities?

The pandemic demands a new DNA for business success. By embracing three interconnected value drivers, CEOs can reorient for transformation.

Read Article By EYQ, John de Yonge, and Prianka Srinivasan

Medium ($) - Mar 27, 2021

AI, Digital Twins, and the Future of Product Design Processes

The age of computational design has finally arrived. Incorporating data and artificial intelligence (AI) at every stage of a design process transforms our design tools, and perhaps the very definition of what it means to design and engineer. We have started to tap the enormous opportunity in the data flows and computational capabilities available to us. And as access to data — and our ability to extract knowledge from it — grows, we see opportunities for organizations to rethink design processes at a fundamental level.

Read Article By Nikolas Martelaro, Mike Kuniavsky, and Nick Akiona for Autodesk University

strategy+business ($) - Mar 24, 2021

The cyborg behind the sales counter

Equipping employees with wearable or implantable AI devices may improve efficiency, but firms must weigh ethical concerns and prepare customers for the new experience.

Read Article By Matt Palmquist
Source Photo: Illustration by dowell

McKinsey & Company - Mar 22, 2021

Defining and seizing the mobility ecosystem opportunity

What mobility ecosystems will help OEMs and other industry stakeholders in the next normal?

Read Article By Kersten Heineke, Tamara Hornik, Dennis Schwedhelm, and Imre Szilvacsku

Harvard Business Review ($) - Mar 18, 2021

AI Should Augment Human Intelligence, Not Replace It

Will smart machines really replace human workers? Probably not. People and AI both bring different abilities and strengths to the table. The real question is: how can human intelligence work with artificial intelligence to produce augmented intelligence. Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov offers some unique insight here. After losing to IBM’s Deep Blue, he began to experiment how a computer helper changed players’ competitive advantage in high-level chess games. What he discovered was that having the best players and the best program was less a predictor of success than having a really good process. Put simply, “Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process.” As leaders look at how to incorporate AI into their organizations, they’ll have to manage expectations as AI is introduced, invest in bringing teams together and perfecting processes, and refine their own leadership abilities.

Read Article By David De Cremer and Garry Kasparov
Source Photo: Andrzej Wojcicki/Getty Images
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