If you are a business owner you know the importance of having a good strategy. Indeed I have written about strategic planning many times and will often credit strategic planning as being a big influence on any success that we as a company have had. The ability to get away from the day to day challenges and think through ways to grow the company is critical … working on the business, not in the business.
The thing about strategy is that it is an occasional thing … yes it gets revisited often, yes it needs to be modified to meet changing situations … BUT it is essentially an event and not a process. (A slight simplification, but bear with me).
Once you have a strategy the big challenge is execution, and if you cannot execute on your strategy then you might as well not have a strategy.
I would go so far as to say that if I copied someone else’s strategy and executed it better than the originator then I would be more successful than them!
If you agree with that theory then clearly, execution is much more important than strategy.
Have you ever had dealings with a business that was unusually inefficient? THAT is an opportunity. There are many inefficient businesses that could be disrupted by a competitor that executed more efficiently. I am not talking about a new strategy such as an internet based company trying to beat out a bricks and mortar company … I am proposing that a company with exactly the same go to market strategy as an existing one will outperform the existing business IF they can execute their plan more efficiently!
1. Strategy is important … but if you really want success, focus on execution!
2. There is opportunity in inefficiency … so if you are an entrepreneur looking for such an opportunity, just look around they are abundant.
3. Execution is HARD … so don’t just assume that you can execute better than the other guy, you need to understand the business intimately, nuances and all.
4. If you run a business and are planning your time … make sure that MOST of your time is focused on execution.
5. Just because you know the theories, can think strategically and “talk the talk” it does not mean that you will be successful.
What does it take to be successful at execution…?
1. A thorough understanding of the strategy.
2. An attention to detail.
3. Excellent communication.
4. Good training.
5. HARD WORK, a willingness to roll the sleeves up and stamina … because execution IS a process NOT an event!
6. Accountability … you have to “own it”. Delegation is fine, but you must stay close to ensure things are not going off the rails.
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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