Podcast: A Conversation on Leadership and Execution


How can you lead your business and execute your supply chain strategy more effectively in 2020? This podcast from UPS is a great place to start. It features actionable leadership and execution insights from Scott Snell, Professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and Scott Price, UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer. Read on for the highlights and listen in to get all of the expert advice.

Executing on strategy is a primary challenge for CEOs and top management. Even the biggest brands and most talented teams struggle to hit their strategic goals. This podcast explores both the obstacles and pathways to better execution.

Companies need a clearer framework for execution, says Scott Snell.

In his book, Strategic Execution: Driving Breakthrough Performance in Business, Snell and co-author Kenneth Carrig (former SunTrust Chief Human Resources Officer) offer a four-part model for executing strategy.

They call it the “4A’s” of execution: alignment, agility, ability and architecture.

Snell’s research includes interviews with senior executives at companies across a variety of industries, including UPS.

In this conversation, Snell and Scott Price discuss the principles for both better leadership and execution.


Listen to Podcast Now


Here are a few highlights from the podcast:

1. Alignment

Working in silos can keep employees from understanding big-picture strategy. UPS’s Price says the key is to communicate effectively, both horizontally across business units and from the top to the bottom of the organization.

Communicate in terms everyone can understand, he says. Be clear.

“What alignment is to leadership means something very different to somebody out in the field."

- Scott Price, UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer


2. Ability

"Invest in talent and leadership," says Snell. "Don’t just focus on productivity. Attract, develop and train your people. Then be ready to move employees to where they can succeed."

“You need to be ready to reallocate and reprioritize human resources,” Price adds, since competitors can pop up quickly, challenging the way you handle and execute strategy.


3. Architecture

The design and configuration of your company — its structures, processes, technology and budgeting cycles — should propel growth, not impede it.

To ship nearly 21 million packages a day, Price notes that UPS needs the “architecture to maintain efficiency using scalable technology. We need the right structural pieces in place.”


4. Agility

Forward-looking organizations must flex, adapt and adjust to evolving markets, technology and innovation.

It’s akin to what the military labels “situational awareness,” says Snell. Ask yourself, what could surprise us?

"Ask yourself, what could surprise us?"

- Scott Snell, Professor, University of Virginia Darden School of Business

“You used to be able to do 12- and 18-month planning cycles. But things can change so quickly in one to two quarters,” Price explains.

“There are parts of an organization that don’t like change. The outside world isn’t so predictable anymore.”


Listen to Podcast Now


This article first appeared on UPS Longitudes.


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