Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change [NOOK Book]


Without effective execution, no business strategy can succeed. This second edition delivers a powerful framework every leader can use to overcome the obstacles to successfully deploying business strategy. In this book, leading consultant and Wharton professor Lawrence Hrebiniak offers a comprehensive, disciplined process model for making strategy work in the real world. Drawing on his unsurpassed experience, Hrebiniak shows why execution is even more important than many senior executives realize, and sheds ...

See more details below
Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$39.99 price
(Save 20%)$49.99 List Price


Without effective execution, no business strategy can succeed. This second edition delivers a powerful framework every leader can use to overcome the obstacles to successfully deploying business strategy. In this book, leading consultant and Wharton professor Lawrence Hrebiniak offers a comprehensive, disciplined process model for making strategy work in the real world. Drawing on his unsurpassed experience, Hrebiniak shows why execution is even more important than many senior executives realize, and sheds powerful new light on why businesses fail to deliver on even their most promising strategies. He offers a systematic roadmap for execution that encompasses every key success factor: organizational structure, coordination, information sharing, incentives, controls, change management, culture, and the role of power and influence in your business. With three new chapters, expanded coverage, and new examples, the Second Edition of this highly successful book is the definitive guide for turning strategy into action.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
What better place to start a book on implementing new corporate strategy than with AT&T during its landmark breakup in 1984. Amid this grand upheaval, Wharton management professor Hrebiniak had an enlightening conversation with colleague Randy Tobias, then a division head at AT&T and later CEO of Eli Lilly. Tobias confided that his biggest leadership challenge was not in coming up with a new strategic direction for his division but in actually getting his plan up and running. The conversation stayed with Hrebiniak, ultimately inspiring this book, which offers a detailed analysis of how organizational structure, institutional culture, coordination, and communication methods affect a company's ability to act on its strategic initiatives. Since change management lies at the heart of strategy implementation, Hrebiniak details its role in successfully transforming an organization. But he also gives airtime to the role of incentives in motivating behavior and of controls in providing feedback to keep the plan on track while highlighting how executive attitudes toward strategy implementation can get in the way of successful execution. The text is liberally peppered with diagrams, step-by-step processes, and real-world scenarios. Recommended for academic business collections.-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Formulating strategy is difficult. Executing it throughout the organization — that's even harder. Without effective execution, no business strategy can succeed. Unfortunately, most managers know far more about developing strategy than they know about executing it — and overcoming the difficult political and organizational obstacles that stand in the way. In Making Strategy Work, Lawrence Hrebiniak offers a comprehensive, disciplined process model for making strategy work in the real world. He shows why execution is even more important than many senior executives realize, and sheds new light on why businesses fail to deliver on even their most promising strategies. He also offers a systematic road map for execution that encompasses every key success factor: organizational structure, coordination, information sharing, incentives, controls, change management, culture, and the role of power and influence in the execution process.

Strategy Execution Is the Key
Execution is a disciplined process or logical set of connected activities that enables an organization to make its strategy work. Without a careful, planned approach to execution, strategic goals cannot be attained.

Execution can itself be a source of competitive advantage. If there's a series of internally consistent, integrated activities, imitation is extremely difficult if not impossible.

Consider how Southwest Airlines executes its lowest-cost strategy: no baggage transfer, meal service or boarding pass; only one type of airplane; and incentives for fast turnarounds at the gate. It's not impossible to copy Southwest, but it's extremely difficult for competitors already committed to different routines and methods.

Why Execution Is Often Handled Poorly
Despite its importance, execution is often handled poorly because of the following reasons:

  • Managers are trained to plan, not execute. Execution is learned in the "school of hard knocks," with many mistakes and frustrations on the way to successful results.
  • Some top managers believe that implementation is best left to lower-level employees, who then get the blame if things go awry. But execution is not trivial: It defines the essence of managerial work. It demands ownership at all levels of management.

Planning and execution are highly interdependent. The greater the interaction between "doers" and "planners" — or the greater the overlap of the two processes or tasks — the greater the likelihood of successful execution. Planning and doing should be simultaneous: Managers must be thinking about execution as they're formulating their plans.

  • Execution usually takes longer than formulating strategy. As conditions change over time, it can be hard for managers to focus on and control the execution process. The longer execution takes, the more likely that unforeseen circumstances will derail it.
  • Strategy implementation always involves more people than strategy formulation. Communication down the organization or across different functions becomes a challenge. The more people who are involved, the harder it is to execute strategy effectively.

Making Strategy Work
Successful execution involves decisions about strategy, structure, coordination, information sharing, incentives and controls. These decisions take place within an organizational context of power, culture, leadership and the ability to manage change. To understand how to make strategy work, we need to understand the interactions among these key decisions and contextual forces. Copyright © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
—Soundview Summary

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780133093148
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 6/7/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 751,524
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

Lawrence G. Hrebiniak, Ph.D., has emeritus status at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Hrebiniak was a member of the faculty of the Department of Management of The Wharton School for 36 years, where he taught courses in strategic management in the Wharton M.B.A. and Executive Education Programs. He still is very active in the Wharton Executive Education arena, teaching and working with managers in the area of strategy implementation or execution.

Dr. Hrebiniak held managerial positions in the automobile industry prior to entering academia, which provided him with valuable real-world experience. He is a past President of the Organization Theory Division of the Academy of Management. For more than two years he was one of a handful of Wharton faculty members providing commentaries on the Wharton Management Report, a TV program on the Financial News Network.

Professor Hrebiniak’s most notable research of late has been in the area of strategy execution. He has consulted with or participated in executive development work with scores of companies, profit and not-for-profit alike, both inside and outside the U.S. He facilitated many of Jack Welch’s legendary “Work-Outs.” Based on his research and experience with strategy implementation, he developed integrated processes that help make strategy work in different organizations, across different industry settings. He is still active as a researcher and consultant.

Dr. Hrebiniak has authored seven books and numerous professional articles. This book, the second edition of the bestselling Making Strategy Work , reflects his experience as a manager, consultant, and educator in creating a culture of execution and facilitator of the execution process in complex organizations.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


This book focuses on a critical management issue: Making strategy work or executing strategy effectively.

Theories and advice about the requisites of good planning and strategy formulation abound in management literature. A vast array of planning models and techniques has been paraded before managers over the years, and managers for the most part understand them and know how to use them effectively.

The problem with poor performance typically is not with planning, but with doing. That is, strategies often aren't implemented successfully. Making strategy work is more difficult than strategy making. Sound plans flounder or die because of a lack of execution know-how. This book focuses on execution—the processes, decisions, and actions needed to make strategy work.

What differentiates this book from others, beyond its emphasis on a critical management need? I'm excited about the present approach to execution for the six following reasons.Learning from Experience

This book is based on data. It borrows from the experiences of hundreds of managers actually involved in strategy execution. There are multiple sources of data, which ensures complete coverage of execution-related issues. This book doesn't rely on the armchair musings of a few people relating unconnected anecdotes; it is based on real-world execution experiences, problems, and solutions—including mine over the last two decades.What You Need to Lead

The focus of the book is on the knowledge, skills, and capabilities managers need to lead execution efforts. Its content is action- and results-oriented.

Most organizations recruit, train, andretain good managers; they are staffed by good people—even great people. Most managers are motivated and qualified people who want to perform well.

Even good people, however, can be hampered by poor incentives, controls, organizational structures, and company policies or operating procedures that inhibit their ability to execute and get things done. Even great leaders, in top management positions, will fail if they're not well versed in the conditions that affect execution success. Managers need to understand what makes strategy work. Intuition and personality simply aren't sufficient, given such a complex task. This book focuses on this knowledge and the capabilities and insights leaders need for execution success.The Big Picture

In this book, I develop a unifying, integrated approach to execution. I focus on the big picture, as well as the nitty-gritty of the execution process and methods. I spell out a logical approach to execution and the relationships among key execution decisions.

This book not only identifies these key factors and their relationships, but also goes into detail on each of the factors needed for execution success. It provides an important, integrated approach to execution and dissects the approach to focus on its key elements, actions, or decisions. This book then provides both an overview of the execution process and an in-depth reference manual for key aspects of this process.Effective Change Management

Leading successful execution efforts usually demands the effective management of change, and this book integrates important change-management issues into its treatment of execution.

This book discusses power, influence, and resistance to change. It focuses on real and practical change-related issues—such as whether to implement execution related changes quickly, all at once, or in a more deliberate and sequential fashion over time. I tell you why "speed kills" and explain how large, complex changes can severely hurt execution outcomes. I focus on the details of cultural change and the organizational power structure, and how they can be used to make strategy work.Applying What You Learn

This book practices what it preaches. The final chapter shows how to apply the logic, insights, and practical advice of preceding chapters to a real, huge, and pervasive problem: Making mergers and acquisitions (M&A) work.

M&A strategies often flounder or fail; my last chapter explains why this is the case and how to increase the success of M&A efforts by applying the book's approach to execution. I also highlight the utility of the book's advice and guidelines when trying to make M&A efforts successful. I feel it is only fitting and proper to end an execution book on a positive and useful note—by showing how practical execution can be in confronting an important and pervasive real-world issue and how it can save management a lot of time, effort, and money.The Bottom Line

Sixth and finally, the reasons above—taken together—distinguish this book significantly from other recent works, such as Bossidy and Charan's Execution (Crown Business, 2002). This book covers more of the important factors and decisions related to successful execution. It offers an empirically-based, integrative, complete approach to making strategy work and focuses more extensively on managing change than other publications dealing with implementation.

The bottom line is that my book greatly adds to and follows logically Bossidy and Charan's Execution. It is an important and necessary addition to the toolkit of managers looking to execute strategy and change effectively.On a Final Note

Leading execution and change to make strategy work is a difficult and formidable task. For the six reasons I have listed, I believe this task can be made more logical, manageable, and successful by the present book's approach and insights.A Few Thanks

An undertaking such as the present one is challenging and difficult because of its complexity. I alone assume responsibility for the book's content, its interpretation of data and facts, and its conclusions. Still, while the ultimate responsibility is mine, there are a number of people who helped me in my task, and I would like to recognize them for their contributions. Brian Smith of the Gartner Research Group helped immensely with the creation of the online research survey, and contributed important technical support. Cecilia Atoo of Wharton was a real stalwart as she typed the manuscript, created figures and tables, and otherwise helped meet my demands and those of the copyeditors. Many thanks are due to my editor, Tim Moore, as well as Russ Hall, Christy Hackerd, and others at Pearson Prentice Hall who helped me develop the manuscript into its present form. The anonymous reviewers who provided valuable feedback and suggestions for improving the manuscript also deserve recognition for their efforts. Finally, special thanks are due to my son, Justin, and my muse, Laura, whose encouragement, friendship, and support were constant sources of motivation to me.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition     xxiii
Acknowledgments     xxv
Introduction to the First Edition     xxvii
Learning from Experience     xxviii
What You Need to Lead     xxviii
The Big Picture     xxviii
Effective Change Management     xxix
Applying What You Learn     xxix
The Bottom Line     xxx
On a Final Note     xxx
A Few Thanks     xxx

Chapter 1  Strategy Execution Is the Key     3
Execution Is a Key to Success     5
   Making Strategy Work Is More Difficult Than the Task of Strategy Making     6
   A Focus on Making Strategy Work Pays Major Dividends     8
   Managers Are Trained to Plan, Not Execute     9
   Let the “Grunts” Handle Execution     10
   Planning and Execution Are Interdependent     11
   Execution Takes Longer Than Formulation     14
   Execution Is a Process, Not an Action or Step     17
   Execution Involves More People Than Strategy Formulation     18
Additional Challenges and Obstacles to Successful Execution     19
   Wharton-Gartner Survey and Executive Education Data Collection . . . .20
The Results: Obstacles to Successful Strategy Execution     22
   Execution Outcomes     26
   The Execution Challenge     28
   Having a Model or Guidelines for Execution     29
   Strategy Is the Primary Driver     29
   Choosing an Organizational Structure     29
   Coordination and Information Sharing     30
   Clear Responsibility and Accountability     30
   The Power Structure     30
   Incentives, Controls, Feedback, and Adaptation     31
   The Right Culture     31
   Leadership     31
   Managing Change     32
   Applications and Special Topics     33
   The Next Step: Developing a Logical Approach to Execution Decisions and Actions     33
Summary     35
Endnotes     36
Chapter 2  Overview and Model: Making Strategy Work     37
Common Versus Unique Execution Solutions     38
A Need for Action     40
   A Model of Strategy Execution     41
   Corporate Strategy     43
   Corporate Strategy and Structure     45
   Need for Integration     50
   Executing Business Strategy     53
   “Demands” of Business Strategy    55
   Integrating Strategy and Short-Term Operating Objectives     56
   Incentives and Controls     61
   Incentives     63
   Controls     64
Another View of the Model of Strategy Execution     65
Context of Execution Decisions      67
   The Execution Context     68
   Managing Change     69
   Culture     69
   The Organizational Power Structure     70
   The Leadership Climate     71
   Need for a Disciplined Approach     72
Summary     73
Endnotes     74
Chapter 3  The Path to Successful Execution: Good Strategy Comes First     77
Is the Impact of Strategy Overrated?     78
Issue #1: The Need for Sound Planning and a Clear, Focused Strategy     80
   Corporate-Level Planning     81
   Corporate Strategy: Some Corporate Examples, Good and Bad     82
   Business Strategy     86
The Service Business     93
Issue #2: The Importance of Integrating Corporate and Business Strategies     95
   The Role of the Business Is Unclear     97
   Inappropriate Performance Metrics     98
   Battles Over Resource Allocations     99
   Assessments of Business Performance Create Additional Problems     99
   The Strategy Review     100
Issue #3: Thinking Short Term—The Need to Define and Communicate the Operational Components of Strategy     103
   Integrating Strategic and Short-Term Objectives     105
   Need for Measurable Objectives     106
Issue #4: Understanding the “Demands” of Strategy and Successful Execution     108
   Low-Cost Producer     109
   Differentiation Strategies     111
   Developing the Right Capabilities     112
   The Demands of Global Strategy     115
   A Final Point     116
Summary    117
Endnotes     118
Chapter 4  Organizational Structure and Execution     119
The Challenge of Structural Choice     120
   Johnson & Johnson     120
   Citibank, ABB, and Other Large Global Players     122
   Service Organizations and Nonprofits     123
The Critical Structural Issues     124
   Structural Issue #1: Measuring Costs and Benefits of Structure     126
   Structural Issue #2: Centralization Versus Decentralization     131
   Structural Issue #3: The Strategy-Structure Relationship and Effective Execution     144
Summary     157
Endnotes     160
Chapter 5  Managing Integration: Effective Coordination and Information Sharing     163
The Importance of Integration    165
   Boeing     165
   Hewlett-Packard     165
   General Motors     166
   Royal Dutch/Shell Group     167
   Law Firms and Integration     168
Interdependence and Coordination Methods     169
   Types of Interdependence     169
   Coordination Processes and Methods     174
   The GE “Work Out”     178
Facilitating Information Sharing, Knowledge Transfer, and Communication     181
   Creating, Using, and Sharing Knowledge     181
   Methods, Tools, or Processes for Information Sharing     184
   Informal Forces and Information Sharing     187
   Additional Informal Factors Affecting Information Flow and Knowledge Transfer     190
Clarifying Responsibility and Accountability     197
Responsibility Plotting and Role Negotiation     198
Summary     202
Endnotes     204
Chapter 6  Incentives and Controls: Supporting and Reinforcing Execution     207
Role of Incentives and Controls     208
Incentives and Execution     209
   A Basic Rule: Don’t Demotivate People     209
   Good Incentives     210
   Reward the Right Things     214
Controls: Feedback, Learning, and Adaptation     216
   The Control Process     216
   Develop and Use Good Objectives     221
   Controls Require Timely and Valid Information     222
   Use and Act on the Information     223
   Face the Brutal Facts Honestly     225
   Reward the Doers, the Performers     226
   Reward Cooperation     227
   Clarify Responsibility and Accountability     228
   Leadership, Controls, and Execution     229
The Strategy Review: Integrating Planning, Execution, and Control     232
   Step 1: Strategy Formulation     234
   Step 2: The Execution Plan     238
   Step 3: Initiating the Control Process     239
   Step 4: Cause-Effect Analysis and Organizational Learning     240
   Step 5: Feedback and Change     241
   Step 6: Follow Up and Continue the Process     242
Summary     243
Endnotes     245
Chapter 7  Managing Change     247
Managing Change: A Continuing Challenge     247
Steps in Managing Change     251
A Model of Change and Execution      253
   Components of the Model     253
   Relating Change to Execution Problems     255
   Sequential Change     260
   Complex Change     266
   Other Factors Affecting Change     278
Summary     278
Endnotes     280
Chapter 8  Managing Culture and Culture Change     283
What Is Culture?     284
   Culture Is Important for Execution     285
   Culture Is Not Homogeneous     286
   Culture Affects Performance     286
   Organizational Performance Affects Culture     289
A Model of Culture and Cultural Change     291
   The Top Line: The Effects of Culture     291
   The Bottom Line: Changing Culture     295
Summary     309
   Rule 1: The Reasons for Change Must Be Clear, Compelling, and Agreed Upon by Key Players     309
   Rule 2: Focus on Changing Behavior—Not Directly on Changing Culture     310
   Rule 3: Effective Communication Is Vital to Culture Change     310
   Rule 4: Adequate Effort Must Be Expanded to Reduce Resistance to Change     310
   Rule 5: Beware of Excessive Speed     310
Endnotes     311
Chapter 9  Power, Influence, and Execution     313
A View of Power and Influence     315
   Strategy and Environment     316
   Problems or Dependencies     317
   Organizational Structure     318
   Uneven Resource Allocations     319
   Internal Dependencies and Power     320
   Using Power and Influence     322
   Coming Full Circle: Conclusions About Power     325
Power and Execution     325
   Define Power Bases and Relationships     326
   Form Coalitions or Develop Joint Ventures with Those in Power     328
   Focus on Value-Added, Measurable Results     329
   A Final Note on Power: The Downside     336
Summary     343
Endnotes     344

Chapter 10  Making Mergers and Acquisitions Work     349
Making Merger and Acquisition Strategies Work     350
   Why Focus on Mergers and Acquisitions?     350
   Why Do So Many Mergers and Acquisitions Fail or Founder?     355
Using the Present Model and Approach to Execution     360
   Corporate Strategy     360
   Corporate Structure     363
   Cultural Integration in M&A     367
   Business Strategy and Short-Term Objectives     373
   Business Structure/Integration     377
   Project Management     378
   Incentives and Controls     379
Managing Change     383
Managing Culture and Culture Change     387
The Critical Role of Leadership     391
Summary     392
Endnotes     394
Chapter 11  Making Global Strategy Work     397
Types of Global Growth and Execution Decisions     399
   Early or Basic International Presence     399
   The Multidomestic Global Organization     400
   The Coordinated Global Strategy     405
   Strategic Alliances     410
Summary     414
Endnotes     415
Chapter 12  Executing Strategy in Service Organizations     417
Similarities: Executing Strategy in Service Businesses     419
   Strategy     419
   Organizational Structure     422
   Talent, Capabilities, and Need for Training/Skill Development Programs     424
   Incentives and Controls     426
   The Logical Conclusion?     427
Service Businesses: Possible Differences Affecting Strategy Execution     428
   Production and Consumption of Services     428
   Are Services Personal?     429
   The Measurement Issue     430
Categories or Types of Service Organizations     432
   Definition of Goals and Strategies     434
   Professional Versus Administrative Controls     436
   Knowledge and Power     438
   Conclusion: A Difficult Setting for Strategy Execution     439
Strategy Execution in People-Based Professional Service Organizations     440
   The Setting for Action: A Case of Reciprocal Interdependence     440
   Deciding on Strategy and Goals     442
   Defining Measurement Metrics and Cause-Effect Clarity     444
   Structure and Coordination Processes     446
   Effective Incentives     448
   The Verdict: Execution in People-Based, Professional Service Organizations     449
Summary: Strategy Execution in Service Organizations     451
Endnotes     454
Chapter 13  Project Management and Strategy Execution     457
Possible Benefits of a Project Management Approach     458
An Example: Project Management and Making Strategy Work     460
   Defining the Projects and Key Objectives     461
Potential Pitfalls with Project Management     466
   Degree of Formality     466
   Tension Between Routine and Autonomy     468
   Managing Culture and Change     469
   Evidence of Value Added     469
Summary     471
Endnotes     472
Appendix     473
Index     479


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)