Here are our weekly picks of articles on Strategy Execution for the week ending Thursday, May 20th. Enjoy!

MANAGEMENT INNOVATION

Ram Charan: Are You The CEO You Need To Be Now? by Ram Charan (Chief Executive)

An excerpt on what it takes to be a digital leader from a new book by business guru Ram Charan called Rethinking Competitive Advantage: New Rules for the Digital Age. The article positions these new digital leaders as always being expansive in their thinking – exploring emerging spaces, thinking in ecosystems, moving decision-making toward the edge of the organization, etc. It’s a fun read even if it is a bit chaotic. Maybe the lack of order in the article was purposeful based on the topic!?


STRATEGIC CLARITY

Most Businesses Should Neither ‘Pivot’ nor ‘Double Down’ by B. Tom Hunsaker and Jonathan Knowles (MITSloan Management Review)

This is a follow on to recent MADStrat articles that pit “fit to purpose” against “relative advantage” to determine if a company has a sustainable strategy. In this article, the authors suggest that most companies do not need to double down on their current strategy nor do they need to execute a wholesale pivot, but, rather, they need to innovate on the distinctiveness of their current offerings to satisfy a multi-stakeholder environment in a constantly changing landscape. No problem – right!


PREPARED MINDS

Benchmarking in the dairy industry: Strengthening performance amid double volatility by Dayan Jayasuriya, Alina Kasumova , Shruti Lal, Ludovic Meilhac, and Andreas Seyfert (McKinsey & Company)

Solid article touting the benefits of benchmarking (across internal operations as well as against the industry). To arrive at a set of gaps & opportunities for continuous improvement, the authors lay out a 5-step process that includes a structural analysis to account for differences in the targets of comparison as well as a normalization of the KPIs being analyzed. This type of benchmarking seems like table stakes and must become commonplace for those that want to compete in an age of ubiquitous data and unlimited processing power.


CULTURAL COHESION

Why Mental Agility is Key for Creative Success by Polly Campbell (Start It Up)

Nice post on the topic of mental agility. The author discusses the need for individual flexibility during these times of change, and it goes on to spell out a nice list of five ways to develop mental agility. Notwithstanding the fact that I, personally, might be a bit stiff(!), I really appreciated the ideas. One suggested idea was “accepting what is instead of wishing for what isn’t”. The other ideas were just as simple and enlightening.


RESOURCE FLUIDITY

[no recommendation this week]


ENABLING TECHNOLOGY

[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.