Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 1, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

STRATEGY VS. EXECUTION....IT'S EXECUTION BY A LANDSLIDE!....Charles Murtaugh, in his year-end wrap-up, recommends this article from the New Yorker titled "The Talent Myth."

It's a good piece and makes a point that too few people pay attention to these days: it's important to hire smart people, but it's more important to have a good organization and good processes. The problem these days is that most people recoil instinctively from the idea of "process," mentally conflating it with "bureaucracy" and banishing it to the same final resting place as other hopelessly unfashionable ideas like, for example, not wearing pajamas to work or employing managers who actually tell people what to do.

It's true that when you put processes in place you have to avoid the temptation to let them get out of control. Never be afraid to suggest that some particular bad behavior is not egregious enough to be worth creating a new policy about.

But: good execution is more important than good ideas, and while your company's geniuses might come up with the lion's share of the ideas, it's the other poor shlubs that have to make it work. These people (and you and I probably among them, if we're honest with ourselves) need direction, they need help, and they need guidance and support. In short, since they aren't geniuses, they need an organization with definite ideas about how to get things done.

There are lots of unsexy but important processes that are critical to making a company work: budgeting, product planning, hiring policies, sales administration, pricing discipline, and on and on. They may sometimes be boring, but you ignore them at your peril.

Kevin Drum 9:46 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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