Strategy vs Execution

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


I’ve read all the usual business books – Collins, Drucker, etc… still, one of the great tidbits I’ve ever come across was in the cheesy ‘90’s movie ‘Other People’s Money’. Addressing a shareholder meeting of a change resistant, declining company, that great business guru Danny DeVito posed this question: “I’ll bet the very last buggy whip maker was the very best buggy whip maker. How would you have liked to have been a shareholder in that company?”

Until that moment, especially in the depths of that early 90’s recession, we had been focused entirely on execution – field costs, overheads, eliminating losses – but at least from that moment on, the focus changed. Or, at least became far more balanced.

This industry doesn’t like change. We haven’t improved productivity in about 50 years and new innovations are viewed with suspicion and fear – and are generally only accepted when the fear of being left behind finally overcomes resistance to change. Get mad if you like, who cares? That’s what I think.

Only a fool would ignore operations. But I am determined that EllisDon will be a strategy driven company, and that while our strategy has several facets, it can be summed up by saying that we are determined to build an Intellectual Capital company rather than a construction company. We want to attract brains to ED, and we want to sell our ability to think. And we will sell into the global market, anywhere and everywhere, and learn from anyone and anything that we can.

We need brains, we need originality, and we are going to try to use technology, a wide open ‘hang-everything-out-there’ approach, an employee focused philosophy and we are going to see what we can build. We are going to invite the global construction community to talk to us and to work with us.

Hell, it may never work. (And then people can say: He was inspired by Danny DeVito? What was his Board thinking?)

But it might. Open up your brain and your opportunities to EllisDon, we’ll return the favour. Let’s see what happens.