November 2016 | Reading List
After years of advising CEOs and management teams, and teaching executives from around the world, Wharton management professors Harbir Singh and Mike Useem have reached a significant conclusion: good leadership or a good strategy is not enough. To succeed in today’s business environment, leadership and strategy must be unified into a single discipline. The two are, they say, “mutually reinforcing facets of a single skill set.”
In their new book, The Strategic Leader’s Roadmap: Six Steps for Integrating Leadership and Strategy, Singh and Useem explain the need for this integration, citing multiple global shifts that are changing the way companies need to compete and creating new demands on their leaders. Those shifts include: greater global interdependence and competition, contracting lifecycles for products, expanding change rates for markets, disruptive innovators and changeable customers, new and growing markets, and greater pressure from investors.
Based on interviews with some of today’s most successful CEOs and new research, the book offers actionable advice for managers seeking to fortify their capacity to develop strategy and lead its execution. It is organized around a six-step plan for strengthening specific skills and ultimately integrating strategy and leadership.
To leaders who continue to focus on strategy or leadership separately, Singh and Useem warn that they can wait for a crisis before changing course. Or they can read the warning signs, including market changes, shifting consumer demand, new market entrants, and emergent technologies, and work now to ensure that they are a strategic leader with a roadmap to follow. The book shows how top executives such as Cisco’s John Chambers, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn, and PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi have done so.
Integrating leadership with strategy, the authors argue, is about driving performance and ensuring the viability of the organization. “In framing strategy and leadership as a single unified discipline, we are seeking to see both components applied consistently and completely. Just one or the other will not suffice.” As the stakes continue to grow for today’s business leaders, The Strategic Leader’s Roadmap: Six Steps for Integrating Leadership and Strategy has become essential reading.
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