“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
– Michael E. Porter (b. 1947), American academic, Ivy League professor, and strategy “guru”
“I’m in favor of it.”
– John McKay (1923 – 2001), American football coach, when asked about his team’s “execution”
They’re two different things. I just wonder if there ought to be one word for the combination of the two things when it comes to business.
“Stratecution.” Are you with me here? Not yet? Ok, let me take a swing at it…
Strategy is about two things. Choosing what not to do (as Porter, Steve Jobs and others have said) is the first one. Driving top-line revenue growth is the other.
Execution is primarily about tactics. Not all about tactics. Not just about tactics. Primarily about tactics.
Strategy is the what to execution’s how. And the key ingredient not listed in this sentence is “Why!”
When it comes time to know what not to do, on our way to deciding what to do our “why” becomes even more of a true north. If the strategy involves garnering more market share, is it to just make more money, or is it to create opportunities (for customers, employees, generational succession, constituents)? If the strategy is to solve a problem, why do we think that problem deserves our attention, our capital, our risk, our effort? Why do we think we’re the right people to solve it?
Side Note: If the strategy is to be more profitable, it’s not a strategy.
Execution drives profits, by and large. Execution is how we solve the problem, how we deploy the capital (human or otherwise), how we approach the market. Execution had better be defined at least 51%, if not more, by what our Clients and Customers say, than by what we believe might be true.
Stratecution is where the Difference Makers live. And they get home along this route: Strateg. Then execution. Equals stratecution.
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