Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Strategy v. Execution

Are these words at odds with each other? Is it possible to develop a strategic plan and also lead the execution of that plan? I'm not talking about assigning the implementation steps to a support team; I'm asking if the same person can effectively develop a high level strategic plan and then provide the leadership to make it happen? Should the same person make it happen; or, at least be involved enough to ensure the project is completed?

Trenches and Mahogany
One of the criticisms I've heard over the years is that executives are not able to fully understand the implementation realities of their plans. For me, that is a shared-responsibility between the leader and their team. If the leader does not include their team in the development of the plan it will surely not achieve the desired result. If the team does not step up and tell the proverbial emperor that he doesn't have any clothes, the plan will also fall short.

Culture = Communication
The answer to the question of whether the same person should manage both strategy and execution is absolutely yes! But how they manage is critical. Involving the team at the beginning of the process instead of "bringing them in when we need them" is mandatory. That's right, mandatory. It's leadership that creates an environment of trust, risk-taking, and open communication. It's done with words and actions. It should be on-going and obvious.

It should be.

How About You
What style do you use to not only develop a plan, but to actually achieve results? Is your team allowed in the office with you during the brain-storming phase; or, are they simply foot soldiers that march into a hale of bullets that could have been avoided?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of sunnylam


  1. Applause Jay-well said. And what better opportunity to provide development opportunities and knowledge sharing for the team members?

  2. Karin - many thanks for your comment. I'm a big fan of sharing as much as possible v. the classic "keep the cards close to the vest" management style. You make a great point, involving the team early is a good development opportunity as well.