Forget Strategy Unless You Are Committed to Execution

By Ann
October 14, 2013

Without execution, a brilliant strategy is only a brilliant strategy. I am an advocate of brilliant strategies. However, most of the work in an organization is executing strategies not creating them.

Consider a strategy to take care of your car. It is an important part of your job and you want your car to last for a long time.

Now consider the work to execute your strategy--the hours to clean out the garage so you can park your car there. Remember regular oil changes and maintenance are part of the execution. Take into account the consistent effort to keep the interior clutter free. I’ll bet your customers that ride with you prefer this too even if they don’t say it.

When there is a significant gap between thinking and doing, it is understandable why many organizations fail to execute strategies.

I heard the office manager of a small firm announce cost saving measures. Her strategy was for all independent contractors to carry personally the notebooks, handouts, recording equipment, and electronics for onsite projects instead of shipping the materials. No question that would save shipping costs.

One project manager said to his colleague, “If she ever had to haul that stuff, she wouldn’t suggest such a thing. We look like pack mules, not executives.” UPS shipped the materials.

More reasons why execution of strategies fails to happen:

  1. People charged with executing the strategy do not understand its value
  1. Planners do not listen to what executors learn in the arena
  1. It is out of the question to change a strategy, even if it proves ill conceived
  1. The results of a strategy are unknown because they are not measured
  1. People on the front line do not have the resources to execute the strategy

To improve the success rate of a strategy and its execution, be willing to spend the effort to create good strategies--ones that have a high probability of success when implemented. A bad strategy with flawless execution is a recipe for disaster.

Once the execution begins, consistently take the steps to achieve results. Sometimes it is challenging and the hard work surprises people.  By measuring progress, you know if you are succeeding or not. You can make changes to course correct. The strategy may look good on paper and turns out to be impractical in the real world.

Reap the rewards of brilliant strategies with action. The success of your strategy depends upon its execution.

© 2013 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved

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