On Unleashing Strategy Execution


Brett Knowles headshot
Brett Knowles

Executive Partner at PM2 Consulting

Episode notes

In this episode of Dreams With Deadlines, host Jenny Herald interviews strategy execution expert Brett Knowles to explore the intersection of technology, strategy, and execution. Throughout the conversation, Brett shares insights and practical advice on leveraging AI and large language models like ChatGPT to enhance strategy execution.

What you will learn

  • The limitations of traditional approaches and the need for agility in strategy execution.
  • The role of AI in creating an execution ripple and assessing departmental capabilities.
  • Building a lightweight nexus and keeping OKR systems simple for effectiveness.
  • The evolving role of senior leadership and the importance of asking the right questions.

Show notes

  • [00:00:18] Understanding the Distinction: AI and GPT Explained. Jenny and Brett explore the difference between AI and GPT, highlighting GPT's capacity to learn and respond to conditions.
  • [00:02:21] Harnessing GPT's Potential in Strategy Development and Execution: Jenny and Brett discuss the benefits of incorporating GPT into strategy development, testing its recommendations, and achieving a balance between familiar and innovative ideas.
  • [00:06:37] Unlocking the Versatility of GPT in Business Applications: Jenny and Brett explore the various business applications of GPT, including automation, decision-making, recommendation generation, option generation, and strategy evaluation.
  • [00:11:54] Accelerating Strategy Development and Execution with AI: Jenny and Brett highlight how GPT can simplify and enhance the strategy development process, providing examples of idea generation, insights gathering, and automated slide deck creation.
  • [00:17:11] Navigating Limitations and Challenges of GPT in Strategy Development: Jenny and Brett discuss the misconceptions, data input importance, and recognizing GPT's potential to surpass human decision-making quality.
  • [00:23:35] Calibrating Parameters for Enhanced Strategy Execution with GPT: Jenny and Brett explore the significance of parameter calibration in optimizing GPT's performance and overcoming status quo bias.
  • [00:30:40] The Execution Ripple and Building the Nexus for Strategy Execution: Brett delves deeper into the concept of the execution ripple, mapping connections, and enhancing GPT's insights and recommendations.
  • [00:35:12] The Execution Donut and Building a Consistent Model: Jenny and Brett explore the interconnectedness of elements in the execution donut and the importance of a reliable and repeatable decision-making model.
  • [00:38:38] The Evolving Role of Senior Leadership in Strategy Execution: Jenny and Brett discuss the agility needed in strategy execution, asking better questions, and embracing AI-powered strategies for a competitive edge.
  • [00:44:43] Quick-Fire Questions for Brett:
    • What’s your Dream With a Deadline: Brett's dream is to share his knowledge with as many people as possible on an ongoing basis. He is passionate about making information available to the community, but there is no specific deadline for this dream.
    • Using Large Language Models (ChatGPT) for OKRs: Brett emphasizes the importance of ownership when considering the use of these technologies for OKRs. If using the tools adds complexity or creates barriers to acceptance, it may not be recommended. However, he believes that organizations will eventually need to move in this direction to succeed with OKRs.
    • Advice for Starting with OKRs: The key advice is to keep it simple. Many OKR systems fail because they become too complex, with too many objectives and key results. It is important to ensure that every individual benefits from using OKRs and that it is not just a reporting system for the leadership team.
    • Excitement about Advancements in Technology for Strategy Execution: Brett is excited about how these advancements allow us to challenge outdated paradigms in strategy development and execution. He believes that traditional approaches, rooted in decades-old knowledge, need to be replaced or reimagined. The new possibilities open up avenues for innovative solutions.
    • Book(s) that Shaped Thinking: Brett recommends anything written by Edward de Bono, who focused on helping the brain become more creative. De Bono's frameworks provide ways to enhance creativity without relying on external substances. Brett also highlights that while there are many business books available nowadays, they often present methodologies as isolated silos. Recognizing the interconnectedness of concepts and joining existing ideas is crucial for creating value.

Relevant links

About our guest:

Brett Knowles headshot
Brett Knowles

Executive Partner

Brett Knowles is the Founder at PM2 Consulting. He is a renowned thought leader with a track record of spearheading strategic execution and driving remarkable performance improvement through rapid OKR implementation. Featured in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fortune for his expertise in the Balanced Scorecard.

Additional resources