De Flander’s (Strategy Execution Heroes, 2010) latest book charts a strategy for taking any idea off the drawing board and into real life.
Coming up with a great idea is the easy part; executing it is much trickier. That’s where this book is intended to help. The execution shortcut referenced in the title is a pathway De Flander has mapped out to help ideas make it past the shoals of development. In the first chapter, he explains the importance of appealing to the three H’s: head, heart and hands. In addition to appealing to reason and emotion (the head and heart, respectively), an idea must also be achievable (the hands). The rest of the book is divided into sections that explain how to engage the heads, hearts and hands of the implementation team: In the head section, De Flander describes the common psychological impediments—i.e., “the villain Decision Paralysis on the execution road”—to implementing a new idea; the heart section discusses ways to connect with the implementers’ emotions and inspire them to adopt the idea as their own; and the hands section covers various problems that arise during implementation as well as the corresponding solutions. At the end of the book, De Flander also includes a few resources for further investigation. The well-researched work cites various studies and examples that back up De Flander’s plan, as well as fictional stories that point out how specific ideas have succeeded or failed and why. Similarly, for most steps on this road map, he includes a thorough explanation of how to incorporate his tactics in the real world. For example, after explaining the importance of writing a “List of Noes”—the areas into which an idea will not venture—De Flander gives several examples of how to come up with that list for any given idea. Other steps in his plan, however, are a bit lacking in this regard.
A great help to anyone looking to bring a good idea into the real world.