The Executioners

In the June 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review, Neilson, Martin, and Powers conducted an extensive survey, uncovering 17 fundamental traits that make organizations effective at implementing strategy. (You can purchase the article here.)

See if you agree with the listed traits (strategy “executioners”), while shadowing them alongside your own organization, determining strengths and weaknesses:

  1. Everyone has a good idea of the decisions and actions for which he or she is responsible.
  2. Important information about the competitive environment gets to headquarters quickly.
  3. Once made, decisions are rarely second-guessed.
  4. Information flows freely across organizational boundaries.
  5. Field and line employees usually have the information they need to understand the bottom-line impact of their day-to-day choices.
  6. Line managers have access to the metrics they need to measure the key drivers of their business.
  7. Managers up the line get involved in operating decisions.
  8. Conflicting messages are rarely sent to the market.
  9. The individual performance-appraisal process differentiates among high, adequate, and low performers.
  10. The ability to deliver on performance commitments strongly influences career advancement and compensation.
  11. It is more accurate to describe the culture of this organization as “persuade and cajole” than “command and control.”
  12. The primary role of corporate staff here is to support the business units rather than to audit them.
  13. Promotions can be lateral moves (from one position to another on the same level in the hierarchy).
  14. Fast-track employees here can expect promotions more frequently than every three years.
  15. On average, middle managers here have five or more direct reports.
  16. If the firm has a bad year, but a particular division has a good year, the division head would still get a bonus.
  17. Besides pay, many other things motivate individuals to do a good job.
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~ by Dave Smith on June 30, 2008.

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