The Execution Premium

If performance dips and you miss targets over a longer period of time, someone eventually asks: do we have a strategy or an execution problem? In most cases, separating the two misses the real point. Strategy that does not factor in execution is wishful thinking. Execution that is not guided by strategic perspective and choice is a ship without a compass. They’re connected by the hip.

It follows that one of the best ways to prepare for tomorrow is to execute well today. To improve, go back to revisit your where-to-play and how-to-win choices, and ensure that they are so clear, coherent and concrete that everyone can act on them and measure progress. Next, empower the front line organization to identify and prioritize customer pain points and build better experiences brick by brick. Organize your sales, service and support organizations around customer success instead of internal and silo’ed optimization agendas. Keep a keen eye on your competition, and build in a habit of fast decision making to respond quickly to new opportunities and threats. Hone your cost structure (and spending culture), and enforce discipline in allocating resources to only a handful of priorities at a time.

Great execution starts with good strategy. In turn, great execution yields increasing degrees of strategic freedom. Getting the flywheel of strategy and execution right is one of the greatest levers of performance for any company.