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Drucker’s exhortation “What gets measured gets managed” is often invoked when approaching execution.

In the sense that results count, and their quantification is desirable, it seems irrefutable.

But in adaptive environments, it cannot, since “strategy” continually emerges from amplifying the results of success experiments—that is, execution.

Furthermore, the nature of execution is also very different for each case.

To take a historical example, centrally planned economies in the Eastern Bloc left no space for adaptation to even the simplest types of change, like variation in demand.

In the first, it centers on compliance with a predetermined plan; in the latter, on decentralized initiative taking and experimentation. That an execution plan be “practical”—simple, concrete, familiar, and unchanging—seems incontrovertible. But when dealing with new or changing situations, familiar, plausible actions can easily fail to achieve the desired effect.

Polaroid, for example, was a pioneer in digital photography.

But the worst way to achieve a goal can sometimes be to pursue it directly.

For example, new drugs are not discovered by pursuing a target number of new drugs, but rather by exploring new areas of chemistry and biology.

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