How to become a master in strategy and execution

Posted on February 26th, 2016

Did you know that two-thirds of top leaders do not excel in strategy, execution or both? To become a powerful leader with a strong alignment in your company, it is important to master these two dimensions. But how can you enhance and develop your abilities to close the gap between strategy and execution? Paul Leinwand, Cesare Mainardi and Art Kleiner studied extraordinary companies and found five important acts of unconventional leadership.

First, choose one identity for your company and stick to it. As a leader, you are the symbolic figure. You have to watch over the image that presents your company. The identity has to be unconditional and identifiable for every employee. Have a clear vision of the competitive market and what your company does best, so that everyone knows where your company stands for.

Second, develop a broad view on the company, so that you know the details of everyday activities in all of the departments. What is the specific value that you offer your clients? Hence, choose a strategy that totally fits the uniqueness of your specific services and products.

Third, become one with the culture of your company. Do not adapt your culture to the strategy, but set up a strategy that correlates with the company’s culture. The value, beliefs, behaviors and convictions that are fundamental to the company will in this way be implemented in the strategy. It will help to build a strong basis that is in line with strategic priorities. In this way, you will solve execution problems, resist disruptive workflows and enhance collective mastery.

Fourth, every decision must be taken consequently in line with the strategy. Only cut costs when it is needed to grow stronger. Allocate (personal) resources strategically without listening to immediate demands of everybody’s idea of what is important. Your strategy is the direction you always have to follow.

Last, pursue a constant course of changes and developments that suit the strategy. However, it is not fixed. You are as a leader the one that has to recognize external changes and quickly has to respond to it. Being flexible as a company is important, to react on environmental issues and to shape the future of your own market.

Do you want to enrich your qualities and confidence in strategy and execution and develop yourself as one of the best top leaders? Take the chance and try these five acts out. Good luck!

This post is written by Linda van Hoorn and is based on the article Only 8% of Leaders Are Good at Both Strategy and Execution by Paul Leinwand, Cesare Mainardi and Art Kleiner, published in December 2015 in Harvard Business Review.

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