Thursday, December 16, 2010

Execution is the New Strategy

Strategists are as a discipline and function, pretty useless for major corporations. Their massive Powerpoint tomes are seen with annoyance because they just highlight the Strategist's inability to get to the point and say something of value, already. The frameworks that are supposed to bring structure and clarity seem to only confirm the obvious to everyone in the room. The action items and next steps which come at the end of the 98+ pages of interesting but useless drivel tend to be unachievable or politically unwise in the short term "reorganize the company so that you can execute on this one product".

Strategic Execution is incredibly important to companies. I would say the majority of General Managers do not have this capability, but this is what they need. I define it as the ability to be a strategic thinker in the classic military strategy sense. Which is, the ability to understand the dynamics of a conflict, the ability to execute a response at the right time (which requires securing the resources and positioning them in the timeframe needed), the ability to respond to dynamic and unexpected outcomes and last, to survive at all costs, even when the battle is lost.

Many of us have been socialized to believe that in the hierarchical caste system of business functions, that Strategists are akin to Brahmins and Tactical People are at the bottom with the Streetsweepers. Or perhaps, even off the caste system entirely as Untouchables. I would say that this is no longer true.

1 comment:

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

Well, I can't remember who used to say it.. but strategy is decided with the workers. You can build all the decks you want and espouse all the guiding principles. You can sometimes even rig up complicated comp plans to support this. But in the end, the task that each individual person does every single day is what determines the strategy of the company. not some flippin' deck.