The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here January 2014

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked - Part I
What We Liked - Part II | Conclusion


Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is no stranger to our web pages. In January 2005, we gave an account of his report on Boosting Business Performance through Programme and Project Management. The report was coauthored by Daniel Evrard and was designed to discover any correlation between organizational maturity and project performance. Based on the contents we titled the piece Room for Improvement. Since then, Antonio has moved on and had the good fortune to participate in a major merger and other transformational projects involving the need for effective project portfolio management.

From this experience and his own research, Antonio has become an expert in corporate strategy execution and associated project management. And from this he has dissected the problems that lead to failure and devised a strategy for achieving success. He has characterized his solution as the need to be extremely focused. Hence this book, The Focused Organization, describes the extent of common problems in enabling corporate change, and how to accomplish far-reaching change successfully.

As Greg Balestrero, Retired President and CEO, Project Management Institute, observes in his endorsement:[1]

"The author introduces a new way of looking at a company through two very different, and often conflicting, dimensions: running-the-business and changing-the-business. What you add to one dimension, you have to subtract from the other. Finding the right balance between these two dimensions represents one of the major challenges to successful strategy execution.

Becoming a focused organization involves a radical change in the way companies are organized and the way they select and manage projects - the creation of a new culture. The Focused Organization discusses the characteristics that comprise a focused organization and describes key areas where an organization can build its levels of maturity; provides examples of focused organizations that outperform the rest; and explains in practical steps how all enterprises can become focused."

This book should be required reading for all CEOs and members of the C-suite running companies and organizations generally that are involved in projects. That is, especially those with a view to becoming competitive, or otherwise successfully connecting strategy with execution. It will also be of significant interest to middle managers and project managers aspiring to climb up the corporate ladder.

About the author

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez has an MBA from the London Business School and a degree in economics. He is fluent in Spanish, English, Dutch and French. He teaches as a Professor of Project Management and Strategy Execution in the MBA programs of Solvay Business School in Belgium, Nyenrode Business School in the Netherlands and Boston University, USA. He worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for over ten years where he was lead practitioner advising top European companies on Project and Portfolio Management Practice. Subsequently, he was head of the Post Merger team at Fortis Bank that was involved in the largest merger in the financial sector - the acquisition of ABN AMBRO. Currently, Antonio is head of Transversal Portfolio Management at BNP Paribas Fortis, responsible for the selection and execution of all large strategic projects in the bank, numbering about 130.


1. Nieto-Rodriguez, Antonio, The Focused Organization, Gower Publishing Limited, Surrey, England, 2012, back cover endorsement
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