Bridge the Strategy Execution Gap by Visualizing Your HOW

By Patrick Thean

Strategy Execution

dateMon, Apr 15, 2024 @ 10:39 AM

I have facilitated countless two-day planning sessions for my clients. People ask me: “Patrick, do we really need to spend that much time planning every quarter? Is there that much to talk about?” 

The answer is: You don’t need two days to figure out what your goals are for the approaching quarter. You need this time to figure out how you are going to do everything you want to accomplish. Your team needs time to discuss what issues or obstacles you might encounter as the quarter unfolds. Otherwise, you will fall into what we call the Strategy Execution Gap

Instead of waiting until difficulties arise, bring the right people together to discuss a game plan in advance so that everyone can understand their part in winning as a team. If you cannot visualize a specific execution plan for your strategy, you may leave Point A (where you are), but you’ll tumble into the Strategy Execution Gap before you reach Point B (where you want to go). 

Ask Questions to Drive Your How Discussion

As you work with your team to determine how you will accomplish your goals, here are a few questions you should be asking:

  • Who is going to be ultimately responsible for achieving each priority?
  • How will we break down complex projects and hand the pieces to different owners? 
  • What resources will the team need to be successful? How can we avoid being blindsided by resource requests midway through the quarter?
  • (If your team has exceeded five priorities)What tradeoffs can we make to de-prioritize less important goals or push them to the next quarter? 

Everybody on the team must get aligned on how to achieve the company’s plan at this stage. Otherwise, you will never achieve success for those goals you worked hard to write!

Visualize the Path Ahead 

To execute your quarter successfully, start by visualizing the path ahead. Write down the action steps or tasks you will need to complete to actually get the work done, and assign a due date to each. Focus on key actions and milestones, not every mundane thing you will be doing. 

This is your execution path forward. Without this path, you risk not knowing how to get your priority accomplished. You need to visualize how you will take each step of the journey to reach your destination. 

Clear the Path

In your execution discussions, call out any potential obstacles that may arise as you execute each goal. Avoid being blindsided. If you can identify these obstacles now and discuss solutions for them with everyone in the room, you will be able to cut down on emergency meetings later on. Clearing your execution path by predicting obstacles will save you time and energy. 

The Bottom Line

Great execution doesn’t happen by chance. It takes more than well-written goals or a clever strategy. 

Devote serious time to defining your how. Ask tough questions, and break down each priority into key tasks. Anticipate challenges so that you won’t be blindsided. Once you can clearly visualize your execution path, you will be ready to bridge the Strategy Execution Gap and journey toward success.

Take Our Strategy Execution Test



Want To Learn More About Your HOW? Take A Look At These Additional Resources: 

3 Rhythms to Drive Success

Close the Strategy Execution Gap

The Rhythm Systems Methodology: A Blueprint for Sustainable Business Success

Quick Tips to Set SMART Goals [Infographic]

Annual Planning Like A Pro in 2024: Strategy Execution Made Easy

How Does a Business Operating System, Like Rhythm Systems, Help Me Grow My Company?

Sharing Quarterly Plans Across Departments

Patrick Thean


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images