Excellent Strategy is Excellent Execution and Vice Versa


Roger Martin of HBR wrote a post this week about his firm belief that strategy and execution are one in the same. We’ve talked before about strategy and building a plan for success. We’ve talked about how much work a good idea can do for you

But at the end of the day, Roger is absolutely right. He cites a survey where only 8% of leaders can create and then execute on successful strategies. Those fortunate few excelled at both because their strategy was so good precisely because it was built in such a way that it could be executed to maximum effect. 

These two pieces are intertwined. You just can’t have one without the other, but what kind of strategy leads to strong execution? Well, a good one to start, but let’s take a closer look at how that good strategy takes shape. 

Recognize Your Business’ Priorities

The first step to good execution is establishing clear priorities and clear goals. Don’t waste your time with the stuff that’s overloading you and wasting your precious energy. It’s unhealthy and ultimately unproductive. 

Plan long-term, but more importantly plan short-term. Identify practical ways that you are wasting energy, eliminate those, and put 100% into everything that’s left. Measure those practical pieces that matter most with reasonable benchmarks. Each step forward is important and you should treat them that way.

Make Your Team Member's Jobs Very Clear

A good business runs best with top-notch communication. When everyone knows what their part to play is and they are very clear of just how they can do their job best, productivity increases dramatically

For smaller businesses, this is generally less of a problem because communication is simpler and everyone is expected to play “jack of all trades.” But thinking that way can also be a trap.

People simply work better when they have clearly defined roles and a strong sense of what they’re being asked to accomplish. When people don’t know what they are supposed to be doing, how are they going to hone their talents? How can you expect them not to slack off when they don’t know what they should be doing?

People want to work and they want to be productive, but they need to know exactly what shape that work takes. Let them know. Let them become an expert on their particular piece and everything will run way more smoothly. 

Learn, Grow, and Make Decisions

No business is without its own unique growing pains. The important part is to take those tough lessons, learn from mistakes made by other companies and overcome every single one of those challenges

The key is failing forward. That’s not a new idea, but people forget the forward part of that too often. Locate the inefficiencies and the problems and all those things that are slowing down your success and make decisions to put it all behind you. 

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to make big changes.  Becoming a successful startup is from easy and it doesn’t always work out. It definitely won’t if you’re not willing to push it to the absolute limit. Try everything and see what happens. If you’re prepared for failure then what’s the worst that could happen?

Better question. What’s the best that could happen? Aim for that.

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment