Strategy is about making choices. Execution is about getting down and dirty so that those choices can produce results. Here's how to get from excellent strategy to strong execution.
Strategy is the pursuit of excellence. It is more than white boards, spreadsheets, taglines, slogans, and vanity metrics. Strategy is about making choices on where to play, how to play, and how to maximize value -- for your company and for your customers. Execution is about doing the work needed to produce results within the context of the aforementioned strategy.
How do you move from strategy to execution? Here are a few ideas:
Keep your strategy simple. Develop a few simple but big ideas or themes that will drive your organization. Live or die by these ideas. If you develop too many or they are too complicated, you will lose focus and internal buy-in. When you lose focus and internal buy-in, execution is doomed to failure.
Involve your team. When you pick your few big ideas (see above), make sure you involve your "front line" team. These are the folks who turn action into daily routines. They do it for you everyday. Let them do this job, too, and get out of their way.
Be obsessed with your strategy. If you cannot articulate the "why" of your strategy in everything your organization does, it is probably the wrong strategy. Being obsessed with your strategy means that it can be demonstrated in every action, everyday.
Focus on the customer. If it is not about the customer, it is not strategic. Everything you do needs to link back to the people who are paying you... your customers. If it does not help them, it does not help you and therefore cannot be strategic.
By staying focused on these business execution strategies, you'll be able to successfully move your supply chains from idea to reality. Let us know your best-practices around execution in the comments section below.
Great article. I will keep these basic point at the forefront of our strategy meetings that continually seem to wander off into the minutiae of meaninglessness. We never seem to be able to create the concrete steps to move forward because, I feel, there are too many conflicting agendas.
Thanks, Frank, for these tips. Too often we get mired down in strategy to the point of inertia, or go forging ahead without enough thought or information. These tips i believe move us toward a real balance between planning and execution.
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