I am only one chapter into the upcoming Skarbek Associates book on Strategy Execution and already I’m hooked.
Each chapter is designed not only to tackle the far reaching challenges of strategy execution and to give simple step-by-step tips but also to illustrate in vivid colour the methods by which to tackle them.
This is achieved by way of a series of stories from high achieving leaders who have stood firm in the face of seemingly unassailable challenges. The reader is invited to travel with them through some of the most tumultuous periods of change within their careers and learn valuable lessons alongside them.
Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Rose’s story is like no other. In 1994 he was tasked with the role of Commander of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina where his task was to implement a successful humanitarian mission to provide much needed aid to those suffering as victims of the ongoing Bosnian-Serbian civil war. It was not only the domestic forces who were at odds; the other UN countries could not find a resolution or any way to move forward and as each attempt to reconcile the different sides failed, more people under siege died of starvation, sickness, shell attacks and as unsuspecting sniper targets.
General Sir Michael stood up to the challenge and took on a role that seemed doomed to fail. Against all the odds he needed to coordinate with the other UN leaders in order to achieve real and lasting change and to move the UN peace process forwards whilst providing life saving humanitarian aid in the midst of a cruel and bloody war. His story is a perfect example of how to think differently, not only when formulating a new strategy but also when executing it.
It speaks volumes on how vital it is to understand the context of the mission and to communicate the purpose of that mission clearly to all those involved both directly and vicariously.
The nuggets of wisdom and easily transferable insights that come from Sir Michael’s story will be invaluable for any business leader. The most striking take away from his story is how crucial it can be took look at a problem from an entirely different perspective, and how examples of exemplary strategy execution from industries other than our own can give us the insight we need to look with fresh eyes at our approach to project management.
With so many freshly painted learnings now embedded in my mind I await the further chapters of this book with great anticipation and with an eagerness to absorb another new and unexpected perspective.