By Dave Hendrick
Corporate leaders routinely cite strategic execution as both a top priority and significant challenge.
In Strategic Execution: Driving Breakthrough Performance in Business (Stanford University Press, 2019), Snell and his co-author, former SunTrust Chief Human Resources Officer Kenneth Carrig, address why execution matters, the challenges of execution and why an effective, widespread approach remains elusive.
“The problem isn’t that executives fail to recognize the importance of execution; it’s that they don’t have a clear approach for addressing the challenge,” said Snell. “This book puts forth a framework for an enduring process that stems from a series of integrated investments over time.”
Based on extensive research involving C-suite executives from 50 companies, Snell and Carrig introduce an integrated framework for understanding and developing the four priorities underlying excellence in execution. The 4A strategy model includes:
- Alignment: In large, complex organizations, where managers often work in silos and opportunities abound, how does an organization ensure that everyone is focused on the same strategic intent, with shared expectations for high performance, and accountability for results?
- Ability: Is talent an organization’s most important asset? If so, what does the investment portfolio look like, and how does a leader ensure returns to the business?
- Architecture: The structures, processes and systems that are supposed to enable work often are the most entangling impediments to effective execution. How do the best companies ensure their organization design propels success rather than impedes it?
- Agility: Being nimble and able to respond quickly to changes in direction efficiently and effectively is essential. It requires the unique balance of situational awareness, organizational learning and dynamic capability.
Written for executives and corporate leaders, the book offers a clear roadmap for translating strategy into the realities of day-to-day business performance.
“Competition has never been fiercer in business, and the competitive landscape seems to change by the hour,” said Jim Barber, COO of UPS. “As a result, having the best strategy is for naught if you can’t execute — and then constantly adapt — it. Carrig and Snell have provided an invaluable service by providing business leaders with a framework to develop, execute and then adapt any strategy.”
Snell, the former senior associate dean for Executive Education at the Darden School, is the co-author of multiple books, including Management: Leading and Collaborating in a Competitive World and Managing Human Resources.
About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.