Mastering Strategy Execution - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Mastering Strategy Execution

Course Number 1312

Professor Robert Simons
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits
28 Sessions

Associate Professor Tatiana Sandino
Spring; Q3Q4; 3 credits
25 Sessions

Career Focus

This course (MSE) will be valuable to future general managers who are accountable for the performance of a business function, a business unit, or a non-profit organization. The course will also be useful to entrepreneurs and consultants who seek to design new structures and systems to support strategy execution; to managers of multi-site businesses who wish to adapt their operations to the demands of global markets; and to investors and board members responsible for monitoring strategy execution by company management.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach you how to execute strategy and deliver results. Using readings, case studies, and exercises, you will learn to master the tools needed to formulate business goals and monitor their successful achievement.

Course Content

I. Foundations for Strategy Execution - You will first be introduced to the theoretical foundations for managing organizational tensions, building a successful strategy, using information for performance measurement and control, and organizing for performance.

II. Tools for Performance Measurement and Control - You will then study the quantitative tools and analytic techniques needed to run a business effectively. Students will learn how to use profit plans to link performance to markets, build a balanced scorecard, and use the job design optimization tool to build effective organizations.

III. Systems to Adapt to Diverse and Changing Markets - To compete successfully in geographically-dispersed organizations, you will learn how to manage the tension between implementing pre-set operating standards and empowering employees to adapt to local customer needs. In addition, you will learn how to use formal systems to monitor strategic uncertainties-changes in technology, competition, and internal capabilities that could upend your strategy-and trigger innovative responses.

IV. Stress-Test Your Strategy - Throughout the course, you will practice applying the tools and techniques learned above to master seven imperatives of effective strategy execution:

  • Allocating resources to customers
  • Prioritizing core values
  • Tracking performance goals
  • Controlling strategic risk
  • Spurring innovation
  • Building commitment
  • Adapting to change

Concepts will be illustrated and tested using case studies in a variety of industries including consumer products, education, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, publishing, retail, robotics, software development, and space exploration. You will study the choices made by thriving and struggling companies, big and small organizations, and both early-stage and mature firms.

By the end of the course, students will have the knowledge and confidence to execute strategy, deliver results, and win in any competitive market.