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Strategy as a Team Sport

Last week saw me traveling, which means I had some time to do a little airplane reading. I had the July/August edition of the Harvard Business Review with me and read a few thought-provoking articles. The first is titled “The Execution Trap.” A lot of good thoughts but the main thread is that there should not be an organizational hierarchy when it comes to the segregation of strategy and execution. In fact, segregation is the problem — employees at every level of the organization should feel empowered to drive strategy as well as execution. Strategy should not be the exclusive domain of executives, but should permeate the entire organization. We should all strive to build cultures that promote the extinction of the “choiceless-doer” (author’s term), i.e. the individual contributor that simply executes what they are told. Here, here.

The second article, “Stop the Innovation Wars,” in some ways takes an alternate perspective. The authors advocate that driving innovation demands the creation of “innovation teams” that are chartered to break new ground. These teams then propagate their innovations into the core operations (or “performance engines”) of the firm to bring the innovation to life.

Should innovation be more like strategy as in the first article? Shouldn’t innovation exist in every aspect and every employee in the firm? I tend to think so, but there are some examples in the second article that show that the “teams” approach has merit.

Interesting reading, check out these articles if you get the chance and let me know what you think.

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Patrick Tickle
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Patrick Tickle is responsible for the company’s Products organization and leads the Planview team that continues to deliver the most innovative portfolio management solutions to the marketplace. Patrick brings over 20 years of experience in product management, product development, and marketing across a wide range of technology solutions. Prior to joining Planview, Patrick served as Vice President of Marketing and Product Management of ITM Software where he executed category development and product definition. He has also held a variety of product management and marketing positions at Terraspring, Inc. (an enterprise software company acquired by Sun Microsystems), MIPS, and Silicon Graphics. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of North Carolina.