In 2005, Merck & Co, the giant pharmaceutical company in the US, was floundering.


Its strategy was little more than an expanded vision statement containing broad general statements and

platitudes about how good the company was.


Without a real strategy to execute, Merck was not moving forward.


A new CEO, grounded in both medicine and operations, demonstrated how execution that is done well can

make a huge difference to a company's performance. He immediately took action:


- He selected and targeted the area in the business in which it would have the best chance of winning,

given its long history of research.

- He made a thorough analysis of existing manufacturing facilities and technologies to ensure Merck

could seize a position in the medical field that it could pursue.

- With a real strategy in place, he made changes to the top ranks of management so that Merck's leaders

knew what the strategy was and could execute it as a team.


 These actions meant the company's priorities and allocation of resources were aligned with its

reorganization and sharper focus.


Companies that do not face reality, don't execute well.


Execution is a discipline. It is a systematic process of rigorously discussing the 'hows' and 'whats' of

operations, tenaciously following-through, and ensuring accountability.


Source: Execution – the discipline of getting things done, L. Bossidy & R. Charan.