Top Articles on Strategy Execution – September 2021

Welcome to our Top 10 articles on Management & Strategy Execution for the month of September. We’ve also shared a handful of related illustrations. We hope you enjoy them!

New Illustrations

Taking Stock
Workshops are an invaluable way for teams to surface great ideas and to forge new paths forward. They are crucibles for iterative design work, where divergent and convergent thinking are intermixed to arrive at creative solutions that leverage the aggregate knowledge and learnings of the whole team. After all, “enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius.” – Peter Skillman (IDEO)

Segment Profitability
Shareholder value as the single benefit of the corporation is being supplanted by a plethora of stakeholder values. Leaders must understand these varied needs and wants in order to build a mutuality that incorporates a diversity of interests.

All hands on deck!
As the pandemic continues to hamper movement, local public spaces have become important points of congregation (physically distanced, as appropriate). As a matter of fact, many of us may have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to visit nearby spaces for the very first time! Have you begun to see these spaces in a new way? We hope so.

Top 10 List – September 2021

Below is our curated list of for September. If you would like to read my comments on each article, please scroll below the Top 10 list!

Top Ten List

1Strengthen Your Work Culture With This One TechniqueLauren Segedin, PhD – MediumCultural Cohesion
2How Xiaomi Redefined What It Means to Be a PlatformHBR.orgManagement Innovation
3Executives, Let Stakeholders Drive Your StrategyHBR.orgStrategic Clarity
4This time it’s personal: Shaping the ‘new possible’ through employee experienceMcKinsey & CompanyCultural Cohesion
5Why it finally may be time to hire a Chief Leadership OfficerFast CompanyManagement Innovation
6An Experiment in Applied Foresight: Building Inclusive Futures with a Global Community of InnovatorsEllen Hlozan – MediumStrategic Clarity
7The Problem With CertaintyMIT Sloan Management ReviewCultural Cohesion
8Collaboration Overload Is Sinking ProductivityHBR.orgCultural Cohesion
9Pursuing Business Purpose for a More Sustainable WorldB The Change – MediumStrategic Clarity
10Going Beyond BudgetingBCGResource Fluidity

Editor’s Top Ten


Strengthen Your Work Culture With This One Technique (Lauren Segedin, PhD – Medium)
by Lauren Segedin, PhD

adaptable comment: This article is a tribute to the power of being present with and listening to one’s colleagues. I love the simplicity of the post, its message and its supporting anecdotes. The author calls this practice, “mindful attention”. In my consulting, I’ve been dismayed by how few leaders are actually mentally present with their staff. They appear to be listening, but their questions lack any type of playback or inquiry. I feel that the practice of “mindful attention” may be one of the biggest drivers of a healthy corporate culture.


How Xiaomi Redefined What It Means to Be a Platform (
by Tony W. Tong, Yanting Guo, and Liang Chen

adaptable comment: Interesting article on Xiaomi’s approach to exploring new business opportunities. In an effort to navigate a dynamic environment, they leverage a blend of corporate venturing and ecosystem development to make hundreds of strategic bets. It reminds me of Lowell Bryan’s portfolio of experiments, but it is actually a portfolio of third-party ventures. Really appreciate the level of experimentation, but, as the article states, time will tell its effectiveness.


Executives, Let Stakeholders Drive Your Strategy (
by Graham Kenny

adaptable comment: Laughed at this quote by an executive at their corporate strategy session, “I don’t know why we do this each year. It always turns out to be business-as-usual.” Love the subsequent challenge to get executives to move beyond traditional internal strategy sessions and get out and interview key stakeholders, because it is with these stakeholders that insight and learning can be found.


This time it’s personal: Shaping the ‘new possible’ through employee experience (McKinsey & Company)
by Jonathan Emmett, Asmus Komm, Stefan Moritz, and Friederike Schultz

adaptable comment: I believe in a strong focus on employee experience – what the article terms as EX. I really appreciate the way the post breaks EX down into the employee’s social experience, work experience, and organizational experience. I think that we need a good rubric for thinking about our employees. This is the beginnings of one. Definitely worth reading.


Why it finally may be time to hire a Chief Leadership Officer (Fast Company)
by Paul Donaher

adaptable comment: The idea of a Chief Leadership Officer seems so obvious after I read this post. It’s so hard for senior executives to give feedback to one another, especially for something as delicate as leadership behaviors. Imagine if an internal resource was given the permission to assess and develop the leadership capacity of the top team and beyond. It would need to be a very trusted advisor and gifted coach, but the rewards would be high. I like this idea.


An Experiment in Applied Foresight: Building Inclusive Futures with a Global Community of Innovators (Ellen Hlozan – Medium)
by Ellen Hlozan

adaptable comment: Fun post outlining the process that Autodesk took to detect and explore possible futures for their business. I found myself really wanting to be part of the process that was outlined. They created a training program on “foresight frameworks to scan for weak signals of change” and the use of “flash fiction scenarios to explore the near and longer-term implications of these signals”. What fun – and how valuable!


The Problem With Certainty (MIT Sloan Management Review)
by Morela Hernandez

adaptable comment: I think this is the challenge of our day – How to embrace opposing viewpoints? Seems like we’ve lost the art of diplomacy, or maybe we’ve lost our ability to be self-aware. This article walks through a process to “build capacity to withstand cognitive discomfort”. The author leverages an analogy of building muscles in the weightroom, “as it requires us to embrace tension, grow through stress, and address damage”.


Collaboration Overload Is Sinking Productivity (
by Rob Cross, Mike Benson, Jack Kostal, and RJ Milnor

adaptable comment: Most of my work revolves around facilitating cross-boundary collaborations to solve complex problems. However, I agree with this article which states that we need to be careful about how much time we are collaborating – and be sure to maintain “focus time (defined as two-plus hours per day of uninterrupted time that can be dedicated to a task or project)”.


Pursuing Business Purpose for a More Sustainable World (B The Change – Medium)
by Network for Business Sustainability

adaptable comment: We need to reckon with the purpose of the corporation and the purpose of our corporation(s)! This post is a conversation on the topic. A highlight is the need to have a longer term mindset on many dimensions of stakeholder value.


Going Beyond Budgeting (BCG)
by Sebastian Stange, Bjarte Bogsnes, and Hardik Sheth

adaptable comment: Budgeting has to evolve. I’ve been a secret fan of practitioners, Bjarte Bogsnes (one of the authors) and Steve Morlidge, over the years. These expert practitioners have been pioneering new approaches to planning, and this article lays out the key highlights. Every leader should understand these points about target setting, forecasting, and resource allocation.

About George Veth

George Veth is a consultant in the areas of strategy execution and initiative management. Most recently, he has been leading a cross-boundary collaboration program with teams from cities across North America and Europe. He lives in Cambridge, MA, and runs a nonprofit SME Impact Fund in East Africa. His subject matter interests are organizational culture, management [system] innovation, and public value management.