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Strategy Implementation vs. Execution

These two words are often used interchangeably in many organisations and business articles and books. However, they have two very different connotations, especially in terms of strategy.

If a strategy is implemented then it implies that it was not in the business previously, i.e. either the business didn’t have a strategy or this is a new strategy. Also, it means that there will be a ‘start date’ and ‘end date of the implementation. That is at some point it will be in and working.

Implementing a strategy also often means that there is an implementation team. So, I may or may not be involved. If I am not included in the implementation, then I wait for the team to come and tell me when it is ready.

A strategy is not a fixed item; it ebbs and flows and reacts to multiple influences. I would argue that it can never be ‘fully implemented’. Especially when many businesses ‘redo’ their strategy every year. At either calendar or financial year-end, the company gathers the leaders, and they have their strategic planning session where they design the plan and then spend X amount of time implementing it.

I feel the term implementation is better suited to change management or new IT / operating systems.

Execution, on the other hand, implies task level actions. There are several opportunities every day or every hour for an employee to execute.

If I hark back to my younger days playing competitive sport, the coach spoke endlessly about execution, rarely about implementation. Our strategy was pure in that it focused on our competitive advantage, how we could maximise the opportunities where we had the power and minimise the times when we didn’t.

We would train and practice set plays and motion plays where it all came down to how well we executed. Not just the person was scoring but everyone, every cut, every screen, every bit of spacing, every pass. In my better teams, everyone knew what we were trying to achieve across the season, during this game, in this quarter and in this play. Importantly they knew what they needed to do to move the ball up the floor and into the basket – a bit like knowing what to do to move the business forward.


Clearly, this knowledge of what to do relates directly to the communication the players have received from me the coach. When this communication is great, and the practice is good, all I had to do was call the play, and the players on the floor would run it, execute and score or get a stop.

Where I would need to call a time out and redraw the play is generally because we are not performing correctly or missing the opportunities.

DELIVERING WHAT YOU PROMISE
and getting your team to do the same


Do what you say you are going to do. Do you meet the obligations, promises, goals and commitments made to yourself and to others?

The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study in 2010 on accountability and found out that the probability of completing a goal is:

  • 10% – If you have an idea or a goal actually.
  • 25% – If you consciously decide you will do it.
  • 40% – If you decide when you will do it.
  • 50% – If you plan how you will do it.
  • 65% – If you commit to someone, you will do it.
  • 95% – If you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed to.

Question – After reading this and my blog post, how likely are you really to achieve your goals, promises, obligations and commitments that you’ve made to others and importantly to yourself, alone and without support?

No way, I don’t think so, and the research study supports my assessment.

My name is Darren Finkelstein, I’m a very successful Accountability Coach, Business Advisor and Presenter. Email me: df@tickthoseboxes.com.au

Book your FREE Unboxing Session, and we’ll examine exactly where you’re at, what’s worked and what has not, and we’ll take a look at your priorities to set the path moving forward. 

Each Unboxing Session includes:

  1. 60-90min obligation-free Zoom chat about your goals, promises and commitments
  2. Examine your priorities
  3. Review your ‘To-Do List’ and we’ll dig-in to how you will implement
  4. Together, we will create a plan and set timelines

Click here to book your free ‘Unboxing Session’

For more information visit: https://tickthoseboxes.com.au  or call me directly: +61 418-379 369.