Why Execution Is More Important Than Strategy

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

Why Execution Is More Important Than Strategy

Pick one: sound business strategy or perfect execution? For some leaders, this may be an easy choice, but for others, it’s not so black-and-white. It’s a difficult debate to resolve because, like most choices, a final decision can be analyzed through a multitude of perspectives and has the potential to bring about just as many outcomes.

1. Demystify the “perfect strategy.”

Just like “happily ever after” is a romanticized concept, so is the perfect business strategy. A sound strategy should be transformed and enhanced during the implementation process, so if it’s perfect, it’s only because it was shaped by execution. In fact, some CEOs prefer not to discuss their bold initiatives until they’re well into, or finished with, implementation. Since strategy is guided by execution, they realize that their planning will take on many shapes before it reaches its final, successful form. Start with execution and subsequently define your strategy. You don’t want to be the leader who overpromises only to under-deliver.

2. Realize that leaders are more than “idea people.”

Somewhere along the line, being a leader and an “idea person” became synonymous terms. You’ve read the stories of Silicon Valley startups that were built on million-dollar ideas. Leaders like to build their success stories on the foundation of their ideas, but idea leaders don’t make headlines — visionary ones do. Leaders who boast about being idea people are rarely the ones who actually pave the way forward. It’s visionary leaders who are at the forefront of their industries.

3. Discover that leaner strategies are often more effective ones.

If you believe that strategy is more important than execution, you’re going to want to nail down one that’s close to perfect (which, again, is impractical) before you even start moving forward with implementation. That type of planning could demand weeks, if not months, of your time (or at least it should, right?), at which point you risk overplanning and hindering execution. Unsuccessful implementation is often the result of planning for planning’s sake rather than planning with execution in mind. If you believe you already have a perfect strategy, you’ll never see the need to go back and revise it once you start working toward your larger goals.

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