What good is a market-transforming idea if you can't move it beyond an idea? According to a Conference Board survey conducted in 2007, CEOs in 769 companies crossing 40 countries define their greatest challenge as "excellence in execution" (38%) with their third highest concern being "consistent execution of strategy by top management" (31%). (HR Magazine, January 2008, page 10.)
It appears that senior executives continue to underestimate the energy, relentless focus, and broad engagement across an organization that are required when trying to implement strategic and lasting change. Perhaps a close second is the dramatic need for mid-life leaders to take the time to understand what people in their organizations need and want before they will embrace and execute wholesale or even minor change.
We've known for a long time that people do what they do for their reasons, not ours. I can't help but wonder if our on-going corporate struggles with executing change are less a statement about the face of change than they are a statement about leadership's lack of engagement with the people a change impacts.