Review: Execution Premium

4 Star, Best Practices in Management

Execution PremiumOne Side of Wisdom, Needs to be Read with Prahalad Et Al, August 25, 2008

Robert S. Kaplan

I strongly recommend this book for any executive with ambitions to both rise and to help grow a sustainable and increasingly profitable (or effective) organization, i.e. this applies to non-profits and government and academia as much as to commercial enterprises.

The book MUST be read in partnership with The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks, both emphasize strategy and business processes, and they are each unique in how they approach the urgency of getting an executive grip on both strategy and business processes or the blood and guts of operations.

Where I am increasingly disappointed (only one star worth) with the business literature is with its relative isolation from all the other literatures. Business is one of eight “intelligence tribes” (learn more at Earth Intelligence Network and OSS.Net,): the others are government at all levels, Military and National Guard or Gendarme, Law Enforcement, Academia, Media including bloggers and new media, Non-Profits, and Civil Society including lasbor unions and religions.

Where the Innovation book adds to this book by Kaplan and Norton is in its focus of co-creating value with all indiviudals–cutomsters, suppliers, employees, regulators. Both, however, lack the sense that can be found in, for example:

The exemplar: The exemplary performer in the age of productivity
The Knowledge Executive
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace (Helix Books)

I also find both completely lacking in their appreciation for the green to gold, cradle to cradle sustainable design ENVIRONMENT of business, as well as the toxic immoral environment that most businesses accept rather than challenge. See for instance:

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism

Finally, while strategy as well as information and intelligence (one in inputs, the other outputs) are buzz words in the business world, this book does well at demanding an Office of Strategy but does not reflect the best knowledge of strategic thinking such as represented by Colin Gray in Modern Strategy and other recent publications; and neither really appreciates external unstructured ANALOG or human information, although the innovation book tries with a second hand appreciation of humans.

A huge paradigm shift is coming, and the value of morality as a basis for trust (Nobel Prize awarded for the guy that gamed that trust lowers the cost of doing business) is upon us. We are now ready to create the Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth that Buckminster Fuller envisioned. See Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace for a sense of what 55 others are saying on this vital FOUNDATION for business enterprise.