While I preach and preach about the importance of having an excellent, coherent strategy I cannot deny the overwhelming importance of great execution.
In recent weeks I have worked with two top leaders (both women incidentally)who are fantastic at execution – which has driven this home. The importance of being able to GSD (Get Stuff Done) is always vital, as two friends of mine often remind me.
Let’s look at an example of two bike teams who want to travel from St Louis to San Francisco. Team A created a strategy to head directly west to SF via Kansas City, Denver, and Salt Lake City while Team B somehow thinks it is a good idea to head immediately south and travel via Memphis, Dallas, and LA (I have seen worse real life strategies).
Team A, while they have a good strategy, fails to break down the strategy into goals and milestones. They have no action plan based on a map – and just rely on a compass. They often get distracted by billboards for special activities and take side trips. The team is often disgruntled – “are we there yet?”
The Team B leadership creates a detailed map of the exact roads the team will take for the trip – broken down with daily goals. Various leaders on the team remind everyone of how cool it is going to be to get to San Francisco – the fun they will have at Fisherman’s Wharf and the tickets they have for the Beach Blanket Babylon. They have a vision.
Which team will get to SF first? Even though Team B is traveling hundreds of miles further, they actually have a chance to get there before Team A given their excellent execution.
Of course, the ideal is to have excellent strategy and great execution (FYI – the two female leaders I mention above are also excellent at strategy).
The most effective leaders put the time into creating great strategy and then maintain their focus to execute it with precision. That’s what accounts for Breakthrough Impact.