Next month I am cycling with a group of friends - we're called Veys's Virgins! - from London to Paris. We will cover the 300 miles in three days, and we are riding on behalf of The Prostate Cancer Charity. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in min in the UK and 10,000 men die each year from this insidious disease. Many of Veys's Virgins have had family members - fathers, brothers, uncles - as well as friends suffer or die from prostate cancer.


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This month's article is.... 

Strategy and The CEO: Interview with Dennis Sadlowski, Siemens

As part of my up-coming book, The CEO's Strategy Handbook, I have included ten fascinating interviews with CEO's from different industries, countries and continents. In this month's edition I wanted to share with you one of these interviews. And if you enjoy the interview, click on the link on the box on the right to download a free chapter of the book and pre-order your copy now.

Dennis Sadlowsk is the former CEO of the US Energy and Automation business of Siemens, the German-based engineering giant. Before a re-organisation the business generated $4 billion in revenues and employed 12,000 people across the USA. Here is Dennis's view of business strategy and his role as CEO.

Having a clear strategy is paramount to the success of any business. Critically, however, strategy and execution are intrinsically linked. There can be no good strategy that is executed badly. All successful strategies take account of the resources and capabilities that are available to the organisation, so that you move forward with confidence rather than merely in hope.

Linking strategy and execution at the very start of the process makes it real for everyone and enables the CEO to engage key executives and managers immediately. I have five lessons for CEOs to take away from my three-year tenure as the CEO of Siemens, USA:
  1. Engagement of the leadership team is critical. Engagement starts with involvement, and I ensured that the executive team and key managers at the next level in the organisation were intimately involved in the development of our growth strategy. We didn't rely on external consultants to tell us the way forward; we led the work ourselves, doing our own blocking and tackling to make sure we understood the detail.
  2. The strategy must be developed outside-in. As an executive team, our total focus was on our customers, how we were going to be their #1 supplier and how we would lead our markets. The internal aspects of our strategy, and how we would achieve our objectives, were secondary. We started with getting to really know our customers.
  3. Strategy is as much about behaviours as it is about programs. Our customer focus meant that I spent significant time with our customers, finding out what was important to them and what they thought of us. I expected the same behaviours from my executive colleagues and our top 200 leaders. These changes in behaviours embedded our strategic priorities far better than any documents, plans or KPIs.
  4. Pay attention to who's not coming on board and address it. This is important at all levels, but for the CEO it starts with the executive team and the next generation of leaders.
  5. Don't mention the word 'change'. Instead, focus your communication on what the company will achieve in the future, how it will work and what factors will ensure its success. People respond negatively to the word 'change', but are positive about changing if they can see where they're headed.
The focus on the future, the engagement of the top team and the importance I placed on certain behaviours created genuine alignment. People understood our objectives and priorities and were able to make the right decision on a day-to-day basis. And, in the end, it is these decisions that will determine whether your strategy succeeds or fails.

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Stuart Cross
Morgan Cross Consulting
Tel: +44(0)1636-526111

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Registered Office is 12 Bridgford Road, Nottingham, NG2 6AB

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