Strategy vs Execution
At the beginning of the year, I read an article about how corporate leaders mistake execution for strategy. I understand how easily that can happen. Firm leaders are so wrapped up in keeping their companies afloat, that any movement (execution) toward that direction can take on the identity of “strategy.” The article, which was from Strategy + Business magazine (author Ken Favaro), made me stop and think about ways I can help my clients know a distinction between strategy and execution. The firm’s strategy must guide decision making for the firm across all areas: growth, direction, distinction, target clients, and key messages. Above that, it must be what determines the goals of your internal team. It is only with clear strategy that all (leadership and team members) are rowing in the same direction, or even sitting in the same boat for that matter.
In his book, The Mind of the Strategist, Kenichi Ohmae refers to The Company + Customers + Competition as the three components of the Strategic Triangle. “In terms of these three key players, strategy is defined as the way in which a corporation endeavors to differentiate itself positively from its competitors, using its relative corporate strengths and weaknesses to better satisfy customer needs.” The article in Strategy + Business takes the thought even further, which they call “the strategic five”:
- What business or businesses should you be in?
- How do you add value to your businesses?
- Who are the target customers for your businesses?
- What are your value propositions to those target customers?
- What capabilities are essential to adding value to your businesses and differentiating their value propositions?
If you haven’t answered these questions in a while, then it might be time to review your strategy. I also believe it is the brave CEO who not only looks at corporate strengths, but also at weaknesses while answering these five questions to develop a sound strategy.