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Strategy + Execution = 8%

A simple question: what is strategy?

According to strategy expert and world-renowned author Jim Collins, it is, "a basic methodology you intend to apply to attain your company's current mission". Essentially, strategy is about making choices of where to direct the efforts of your organization in alignment with your stated mission, vision and values. Of course this can equally apply to non-profit organizations and governments. It's not complicated and doesn't need to be.

Strategy is a buzz-word these days, often implying a complicated, calculated, and complex process to develop a plan to drive an organization forward. One might get the sense that if any directive doesn't involve the the term 'strategy', it may not be worthy of management attention these days. What does strategy look like in your workplace?

I recently was involved with one organization that annually did strategic planning yet never ended up with a plan that could be executed. The result was continuous planning with few results. In another situation, there was such a complex strategic plan that most employees, leave alone the executive team themselves, could comprehensively explain it to anyone else. How likely do you think it was this plan became a focus to guide decisions and work for success? Either of these situations sound familiar?

Another related and equally challenging term is 'execution'. What does it mean to execute? Well, it simply means to carry out or put into effect a plan, order, or course of action, yet research shows that most organizational strategies do not get effectively executed. Maybe because it is difficult to implement or action a poorly developed strategy or justifiably in some unique cases, maybe the competitive landscape has changed so much, the strategy is no longer valid.

As Ken Favaro clearly highlights, "most everyone would agree that you cannot achieve good results without having good execution; similarly, most would agree that having a good strategy alone is no surefire formula for success. But too many jump to the wrong conclusion that this makes execution more important than strategy." Is your strength as a CEO, Executive or Senior Leader in strategy or execution?

If your one of the 8% who excels at both, congratulations! For the other 92%, it may be time to consider how to strengthen and align your business for success. According to research conducted by PwC in a global survey of 700 executives, only 8% excelled at both strategy and execution.

Further, as Leinwand and Rotering point out, "leaders who master both strategy and execution start by building a bold but executable strategy. Next, they ensure that the company is investing behind the change. And last, they make sure the entire organization is motivated to go the journey."

Time for you and your leadership team to size up your strategy to help guide your organization to improved success? Start by registering for our upcoming webinar Sizing Up Strategy to learn a simple, yet powerful tool to get you started.

As a CEO or Executive of a small-medium enterprise, are you asking the right questions? Try our 10 minute, 7 Attributes of Agile Growth® Assessment and we guarantee we'll soon be asking some very different and powerful questions for your business or organization!

As a Certified Business Coach, I utilize my professional expertise every day to ensure clients I work with can successfully ask the right questions to find solutions right for their organization. The 7 Attributes of Agile Growth® provides a proven, practicable and profitable path for companies, non-profits, and local governments who want to move beyond their current performance.

Jerome Dickey, MA, ACC, CPHR, Q.Med



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