Strategy vs Execution: Don't Confuse Strategic Thinking and Strategy Execution Plans

By Patrick Thean

Strategy vs Execution: Don't Confuse Strategic Thinking and Strategy Execution Plans

It is easy to confuse your strategy and your 3 year strategic plan. I have seen so many leaders tell me that they have a great strategy.   Yet, when asked specifically what their strategy is, they have difficulty sharing the key strategic initiatives they are going to make - and when.  Strategy and strategic moves should not be as complicated as we sometimes make it.  This is the very reason that there is a strategy or execution debate.  You must do both well to succeed, and you need the right rhythm to get it done. 

It might be helpful to think about your strategy as having 2 parts:

1. Strategic Thinking

2. Strategy Execution Plans


Strategic Thinking:  Taking the time and effort to think and work on your business.  To succeed, this needs to be a regular rhythm, not an event.  Spend some time every week thinking about your strategic plan.  Set aside a couple of hours to work on your strategy.  I would suggest scheduling time weekly to do this.  If you have a partner in your business, schedule a "strategic thinking hour" together every week.  Leave your office, this could be over lunch.  You might find it easier to come up with new ideas and new moves in an unfamiliar surrounding.  Do not do these meetings in your board room/conference room.  Get outside your own physical box in order to think outside the box!

Strategy Execution Plans:  Figuring out what we are actually going to do.  We can have a strategy and spend time thinking about stuff all day long.  If we do not convert this thinking into doing, we have not accomplished anything. Execution Planning is the process you use to take your strategic thinking ideas and put it into a documented plan of action.  Who is going to do what and when?  How will your team work to accomplish this goal?  What resources will they use?  What trade offs might you be willing to make if your team needs additional resources?  Get specific.  Get dirty.  Get your action plan done. 

Great companies have execution plans done and ready to discuss, debate and agree.  Good companies wing it a little more often.  They set a common goal, communicate it through the company and create cross-functional teams in order to execute their strategy.  Having a clear strategic plan is not enough, if you don't know how to get there.  Creating  execution quarterly plans are what keep your team focused and  on track to its destination. 

5 Minute Rhythms Episode 8 - Connect Your Strategy To Your Execution

Interested in learning more about your 3 year strategic plan?

The CEOs Strategy-Execution Gap...And How To Fix It

Choose Your 3 Year Strategic Growth Initiatives Wisely With This 4 Step Process

5 Steps to Getting Started on 3 Year Strategic Plans with Winning Moves

Have You Validated Your 3 Year Strategic Plan?

Strong 3 Year Strategic Plans to Grow Revenue and Stay Competitive

16 Strategic Planning Tips to Keep Your Strategic Plan Alive

Don't Confuse Strategic Thinking And Strategy Execution Plans

9 Steps to a New Revenue Growth Strategy [Infographic]

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