“Weekly Picks” (August 5th)

Here are our top picks of articles on Strategy Execution for the week ending Thursday, August 5th. Enjoy!


Rethinking organisational development
by Naomi Fox (Culture Co-Lab – Medium)

adaptable comment: This post pits the idea of dialogic “what is possible” versus that of diagnostic “what is true” (which typically means – true to me – within the constructs of my understanding). I continue to spend more and more time thinking about how to reframe my thinking to always be about what’s possible, or possibly true, as opposed to framing within what I think is true. It’s very hard for me, but it has helped with my marriage, my kids, and my work! The post goes on to explore the needed attributes (generativity, narrative, and emergence) of change conversations from this perspective.


CEOs Need a Customer Experience Revolution—Not an Evolution
by Bharat Poddar, Yogesh Mishra, Karen Lellouche Tordjman, and Rob Bell (BCG)

adaptable comment: This article focuses on radically overhauling your organization’s customer experience (CX) to achieve market success. It speaks to the need to leverage human-centered design experts to do a deep dive into all of the interaction points along the customer journey (coined the “Midas Touch”). The authors also talk to the likely need to consolidate resources from other incremental CX improvement projects to provide ample support to do so. I really like this blank page design approach to meeting customer needs, but I also understand the organizational hurdles and inertia to take on such revolutionary change efforts.


Midsize Companies Need a Systematic Approach to Cost Analysis
by Robert Sher (HBR.org)

adaptable comment: This article discusses the need to fully understand segment costs as the simplicity of a small business turns into the complexity of a midsize business with a myriad of products, customers, etc. This knowledge of costs moves from simple intuition to data-backed evidence. With these numbers as a backdrop, many decisions and/or considerations can be discussed – with the facts being on the wall. I love this picture of “prepared minds” coming around a challenge to discuss a path forward. Great article for those of us that are nerdy about having a shared knowledge of the actuals, so you can discuss what’s possible!


Why leaders need to know the difference between teams and rosters
by Larry Robertson (SmartBrief)

adaptable comment: This is a simple post on the current saga going on between Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers organization. The author draws an analogy to the fact that the Packers may have the best roster (even better if Rogers is part of it), but it won’t matter if their culture is actually in disarray. They won’t be a winning team. The conclusion is that leadership needs to be cultural in nature. I like the constant reminder.


Managing project portfolios to unlock trapped capital
by Katy Bartlett, Steffen Fuchs, Mark Kuvshinikov, Peter Trueman, Simon Webb, and Dick Westney (McKinsey & Company)

adaptable comment: This is a decently deep discussion of project specific risk versus portfolio level risk AND how to manage these risks such that capital is not being held captive as contingency funds/reserves in hundreds of different projects or initiative programs across an organization. I like the way the article puts the burden on executives to look across the portfolio and to create “robust process or consistency between projects”. Great overview of the challenges and opportunities to free up funds as companies begin to invest capital in the post pandemic period (hopefully).


[no recommendation this week]

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.