“Weekly Picks” (July 8th)

Here are our top picks of articles on Strategy Execution for the week ending Thursday, July 8th. Enjoy!


The ‘Amazon Way’ of Strategy
by John Singer (John Singer – Medium)

adaptable comment: This post awkwardly, but rather interestingly, moves from the Sex Pistols to Amazon to the healthcare industry! In it, the author explores what it means to adopt a completely different mindset to a situation or larger ecosystem. The article ultimately focuses on how to rethink systems change within healthcare. However, its main point is that we need to think differently to get out of the stasis of our current mindsets and to reimagine broken ecosystems.


What I learned from Simon Wardley’s Book (Part 1)
by Dana Levine (Geek Culture – Medium)

adaptable comment: I was introduced to the Wardley Map a couple years back when I auditied a class on technology in government by David Eaves. The map intrigued me as it charted a value chain while discerning the level of commoditization (or maturity) of each element of the chain. I thought it was quite useful for imagining software/application development projects and for pinpointing opportunities for innovation. With that said, I’m a novice at the approach, and I have struggled a bit to create maps for applications outside of IT. However, I think it is a construct worth knowing.


Gain Competitive Advantage by Transcending the Front-Line Paradox
by Carsten Lund Pedersen (MIT Sloan Management Review)

adaptable comment: I appreciate the need to learn from the edges or boundaries of the organization. These are the places where the organization is sensing and interacting with the marketplace environment. So often, our leadership gets lost in our own construction of reality. This article explores just that. It mixes the idea of the types of data analytics with the sources of knowledge (top management versus front line team). Ultimately, it explores how top companies should leverage the realtime insights of the front line team into organizational decision making. It is worth the read.


Are you growing something that matters?
by Dan Young (Needs Workshop – Medium)

adaptable comment: It is interesting to ponder how to create space for our organizations to construct meaning and/or purpose at work. This article explores how, as leaders, we often jump too quickly to what actions that staff are requesting of leaders or to collective sense-making efforts WITHOUT first allowing everyone to realize/process that they are not in it alone. As the author states, “it’s possible for work colleagues to have what appears to be an intense shared experience, but to feel isolated and trapped with their own thoughts”. This revelation is something the author wants us to consider as we think about how to rebuild after traumatic events or change affect our organizations.


Do You Really Need All that Office Space?
by Nikodem Szumilo and Thomas Wiegelmann (HBR.org)

adaptable comment: Though this post is not my traditional type of selection for resource fluidity, this article looks at office space and begins to consider what’s really needed as we begin to get back to convening within physical spaces. The authors review the main reasons for physical office space and then move on to explore the main attributes that should be considered for a reduced footprint. This is a topic on many people’s minds and it greatly impacts resources.


Automation opportunities in North American grocery
by Steven Begley, Vishwa Chandra, Prabh Gill, and Bill Mutell (McKinsey & Company)

adaptable comment: This is a simple post that visits each piece of the grocery value chain and talks through how technology can be leveraged to automate processes and manage future costs. Nice review of the ubiquitous impact of technology on business (even if it is only one industry and focuses on cost management).

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.