Authors and Models on Strategy Implementation
Below are a selection of complementary resources around which any business, big or small, can structure a strategy from Vision to action.
First is Jim Collins, the researcher who shares the elements that make a good company a great and lasting one. Second are two advocates of business plan models, Verne Harnish and Gino Wickman, taking a Vision and applying practical tools to get to short term action plans. Underpinning this is the work of Patrick Lencioni on Organisational health - creating engagement at all levels.
Jim Collins is a student and teacher of what makes great companies tick. Having invested more than a quarter century in rigorous research, he has authored or coauthored six books that have sold in total more than 10 million copies worldwide, including:
•Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
•Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck –Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
•How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, and, of course,
•Good to Great, #1 bestseller with over 2.5 million hardcover copies sold, which examines why some companies make the leap to superior results.
TEC chairs had the privilege to hear Jim deliver a Keynote address to a meeting of worldwide chairs in San Diego in January 2019. He shared his decades of insights by diving deep into his Twelve Question discussion guide. This comprehensive guide is designed for leaders who want to engage Jim's full body of work and use these questions to challenge and cultivate their disciplined thought.
Jim emphasises that while his work appears to be a study of successful BIG companies, all of them were once small and its how they got to be big and then stay there is the focus of his material. In his website material he emphasises certain elements and brings his 12 questions to life. Best known is his focus on “Level 5” leadership and the concept of “The right people on the bus” but in terms of implementation, the concept of a flywheel, combined with the disciple of a “twenty mile” march is compelling.
This discussion guide and other insightful tools can be found on Jim’s website at:
Verne Harnish is an author, often writing as the "Growth Guy" columnist for several publications. He has a network of accredited coaches and often visits Australia for day long workshops, usually sponsored by The Growth Faculty.
In 2002, he published Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. He created the "Rockefeller Habits" concept based on the leadership and management practices used by John D. Rockefeller. In the book, Harnish outlined three "pillars" to the habits: "Priorities", "Data" and "Rhythm". He recommends the practice of holding "huddles", or short daily meetings, in order for small business to maintain focus on strategic goals and establish accountability.
He developed the Gazelles model and established one of the benchmark ‘One Page Strategic Plans”, taking foundational strategic thinking (Vision, Purpose, Values, BHAG etc.) and driving that through to annual and quarterly priorities.
In 2012 he published a completely revised and considerably developed new book, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't, which received several awards.
His One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) has stood the test of time and is used by many of my clients in one form or another. He provides a lot of self help material to support businesses using the models. He has simpler models and other analytical concepts which help an executive team answer some of the more challenging questions.
He has packaged his tools under the concept of the Gazelles 4D Framework - Driver, Demands, Disciplines and Decisions - leading to results.
Gino Wickman is the author of Traction: Get a Grip on your Business, published in 2014. Alongside the book, Wickman created the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS), a holistic system, somewhat similar to the Gazelles model but even more emphasis on the accountability and execution aspects. This is also supported by a network of accredited coaches and facilitators.
EOS has built up a strong following especially in small to midsized businesses in the US.
EOS is built up of six elements - Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process and Traction.
There is a lot of support material and self help. The main tool, the “Vision / Traction Organiser (V/TO) is a simpler version of the Gazelles OPSP. This simplicity and focus is often compered with the more comprehensive OPSP.
Patrick Lencioni is a writer of books on business management, particularly in relation to team management. One of his best known books The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is written in a fable format that explores work team dynamics and offers solutions to help teams perform better. Others include The Five Temptations of a CEO, Death by Meeting, Getting Naked.
His most substantial work and more recent work is “The Advantage” a powerful and compellingly readable book promoting and celebrating ‘Organizational Health” as the only true sustainable competitive advantage.
In this he weaves his philosophy on teams - the famous pyramid built on Trust, followed by (healthy) Conflict, leading to Commitment, then Accountability and finally, Results.
As part of his Organisational health Model, Creating Clarity requires six questions to be answered
Pat is now embarked on creating “a movement” including high energy conferences and recently visited Australia on the Growth Faculty Platform. I had the privilege of seeing him in Dallas in 2019 on a platform with one of the true leadership icons of the last 20 years, Alan Mulally, who claimed that one of the reasons he has never written a book about his approach is that Pat had already written about it in “The Advantage”
While his organisation, the Table group, has excellent facilitators all his material is designed as “open source” and for self help.
His website includes great videos and tools and it is no coincidence that Jim Collins, Gino Wickman and Verne Harnish all pay tribute to Lencioni’s work