Chapter 1

What's Broken and What's Possible

“Finding what's wrong and fixing it” versus “seeing what's possible and going for it” give two very different lives.

—Tony Mayo

We are in the middle of an information deluge and an insight glut.1

Our systems, processes, and information are still struggling to escape silos when the economy is crying out for collaboration, efficiency, and better results.

Folks are constantly reinventing the wheel at work and some lament “if only people in our company knew what everyone in our company knows!”2 Many companies can barely agree on the definition of a customer, an employee, or sales figures, let alone agree on how to improve them.

With all this technology and information at our fingertips, we are still making decisions in the dark and relying on our best guesses.

Certainly some organizations are doing better than others when it comes to closed-loop, fact-based decision-making, but the opportunity to take advantage of all this data we have is barely being exploited.

Strategy-Execution Gap

What is it that thwarts a rigorous process of sustainably executing an organization's strategy? As shown in Figure 1.1, some of the barriers include those capabilities that are the responsibility of managers and leaders in the organization.

Figure 1.1 Barriers in the Strategy-Execution Gap


In March 2010, Harvard Business Review (HBR) surveyed 1,075 HBR readers ...

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