January 2012 | Strategy
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead. Contributor: Joseph Ryan, Senior Fellow, Wharton Executive Education; Founder and President of True North Advisory Group.
Drive sustainable and repeatable success in managing strategic initiatives. Identify capability gaps that need to be addressed and accelerators that you can leverage for better results.
Strategy execution at all levels — corporate, business unit, key initiatives — requires clarity, discipline, honesty, and agility. While balanced scorecards are useful for providing discipline and clarity, they’re not sufficient because execution rarely goes exactly as planned. Leaders need real-time diagnostics (as opposed to slow and costly studies) to honestly assess what’s working and what’s not. Next, they need to identify solution levers, what we call accelerators, that let them manage the execution process more explicitly.
The Accelerator Checklist includes six success factors for effective strategy execution, translated into 12 straightforward diagnostic statements. Red flags in any of these areas can and ultimately will derail a strategy.
You can use this tool alone or in your strategy team to reveal the implementation gaps that need to be addressed, and the strengths that can act as accelerators, driving successful execution. In other words, by using the checklist you can learn where execution is stuck and identify the solutions to get unstuck — in real time.
For each item in the Accelerator Checklist, answer using the scale of Green (no problem), Yellow-Green (some problems, but moving in the right direction), Yellow-Red (moving in the wrong direction), and Red (serious problem). This thinking process and your judgment calls will give you a solid foundation for honest discussions about capabilities and the basis for developing resilient action plans. Consider how you might strengthen Accelerators determined to be Red and Yellow-Red and how to better leverage those ranked as Green or Yellow-Green.
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, Director of Innovative Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education. It is jointly sponsored by Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, Wharton Professor of Management Michael Useem, Director. Nano Tools Academic Director, Professor Adam Grant.
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