January 7, 2008

News & Opinion: Ask 8cr! - Executing Your Strategy

By: Aaron Schleicher @ 6:24 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Ask 8cr! is a section of our blog used as a forum to address the kinds of issues and challenges people are having in the workplace. We take these issues and apply a business book we feel offers a viable solution. Others then chime in via the comments section. The person with the selected challenge gets a free copy of the book, but everyone who reads these posts, wins. What's your challenge at work? Send it to me at jon(a)800ceoread(dot)com.
Today's challenge deals with focusing on the big picture, knowing what you really want to accomplish, and building a system to get there - though from the note, you might not initially expect this:
"For the longest time I kept my email inbox at zero. It was heaven. Then, I went on a week of vacation and everything has fallen apart. Plus, I moved my whole office that I've been in for 13 years to a new office away from our main building. So, sorting through years of material, reorganizing it, and then trying to keep up with the day to day grind has left me feeling totally out of control. Is there really help for me?" - Annie
Don't we all feel like Annie sometimes? I could easily respond with a note about organization, setting priorities, and making a schedule, and apply a useful, but perhaps temporary book solution to Annie's challenge. But, let's face it, none of us need a quick fix. We should be looking at the larger scope of our daily actions, and how those can pile up over time to help or hinder our efforts. What's really at stake for Annie, and all of us, as we get buried in emails and material, is our strategy.

Mark Morgan, Raymond Levitt, and William Malek have written a book called Executing Your Strategy: How to Break it Down & Get it Done and it's right on the mark for Annie's core issue. We all get distracted and buried over with day-to-day stuff. It's inevitable. But, if we look at the ideas these authors have presented, they're extremely helpful in keeping focused on our vision, and also lets us know how to do something about realizing it.
Clarifying identity and purpose, and looking at long range intention are the initial steps. The book then leads into how to form your strategy into projects, and how to effectively manage and develop those projects. The author's state: "One of management's biggest blind spots is the failure to recognize that any significant shift in strategy requires changes in day-to-day activities throughout the organization." From there, strategic project types are discussed, along with many case studies and examples of how to apply the ideas herein.
The book is big on management, projects, and long-term strategy. It's my hope that by studying these ideas, and by focusing on the bigger picture, Annie will naturally develop ways to address her day-to-day clutter, and solve far greater issues. Again hopefully, this will engage her in her work, and lead her into more successful territory, where the little stuff is no longer considered a challenge. I'm sending her a copy of the book today so she can get a fresh start in the New Year. How about you?

About Aaron Schleicher

Aaron Schleicher has been the author services specialist at 800-CEO-READ since 2004. You can usually find him hidden under a baseball cap, feet kicked up on his desk, talking with authors, publishers, and businesses. Outside the office you can find him crafting candles, listening to records, and making music with friends and family.