Many strategies fail, not because the strategy is flawed, but execution is not delivered appropriately. In delivering any strategy, there is a mixture of art and science, and leaders who are able to recognise this and bring their experience in both areas are indispensable. This article suggests developing capabilities in these three areas will close the gap between strategy and execution:
1. Build the strategy with execution in mind
2. Translate the strategy into the everyday
3. Execute the strategy through capability and behaviour
Leaders like Howard Schultz don’t just have both the visionary and operator skills—they deeply value the connection between the two skill sets. In fact, they see them as inextricably linked, since a bold vision needs to include both a very ambitious destination and a well-conceived path for execution that will get you there. This is ever more important today, where differentiating your company is so difficult. Differentiation increasingly requires more innovative thinking, and the use of very specific areas of expertise (like Apple’s winning design, a capability that wouldn’t have been prioritized in most technology companies before Jobs). 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.