Eight ways to win the war

Companies should focus on a small number of carefully crafted goals - or Must Win Battles (MWBs) - rather than spread resources too thinly to achieve their overall strategies.

by Knowledge@Wharton
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

The art of successful MWBs outlined in the new book 'Must-Win Battles: Lessons from Successful and Failed Journeys' by Peter Killing and Thomas Malnight reveals several key lessons:

1) The 'kick-off' event is important but it is the commitment and energy that follows that will determine its success.

2) You must ensure that the goals tap into and arouse excitement, which is considered by the authors to be the most important factor in overall success, as excitement leads to commitment.

3) You will have to change people's behaviour through a mixture of sanctions and incentives.

4) It is important to make the number of people involved in leading the change as large as possible. It is especially important that you have an enthused top team who will then inspire in turn the managers immediately beneath them.

5) The MWB journey takes time and effort and it is important to maintain momentum and stay disciplined to see it through.

6) The goals must be very clearly set out and detailed and based on thorough debate. Unclear 'slogans' leave room for people to use them to support their personal agendas.

7) Never delay the MWBs, even for good reasons. The sudden delay after kick-off will lead to a fatal lack of will and focus. It is unlikely to be picked up again.

8) Don't become over-confident because of early success.

Must-Win Battles: Lessons from Successful and Failed Journeys
Peter Killing and Thomas Malnight

Review by Morice Mendoza

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