Strategy Formulation and Strategy Execution is like architecture and construction, or a recipe and cooking: they are co-essential, and completely interdependent. You can’t fulfill one without the other, and you have to get them both right if you want to achieve your goals and objectives.
With bad blueprints, the house you build will be sub-functional, maybe unsightly, and likely dangerous. With good blueprints but bad construction, the house you build may be nice looking, but certainly sub-functional and definitely dangerous.
Real-world, though? In the field and on the floor, while both Strategy Formulation and Execution have their challenges and difficulties, we’ve seen that Execution demands a lot more sustained leadership commitment, resource allocation, continuity, metric and time-horizon precision, and mass participation: drawing the house is easier than actually building it, writing the recipe is easier than baking that cake.
We’ve also seen that the “known deficiencies” in an organization’s Execution abilities (including absentee leadership, weak business process, vague metrics, imprecise measurement, poor enabling technologies) actually bias, disable and dilute the Strategy Formulation process.
That results in: “well, we realize that our enterprise isn’t capable of really executing the strategies we actually need to execute, so we’ll just write some that we can.” Conclusion: Bad Execution degrades Strategy Formulation. In engineering (and plumbing), they call that Back-flow, and it’s bad.
In worst-case scenarios, this profound inability to actually Execute creates a Strategy Formulation process that is corrupted, warped and disabled before it even engages. So, organizations spend too much attempting to Execute Bad Strategy.
This fundamental deficiency can be repaired with the powerful performance management process and automation solutions that exist today: to enable leaders and the workforce with the timely, precise and relevant performance results information that they need to actively manage Execution. With process- and technology-enabled Execution, credible and legitimate Strategies can be formulated. And, goals achieved.
This issue of timing in a particular enterprise, or project/initiative, is also fundamental. There is a “time” (or cycle interval) to Formulate (or assess and re-Formulate), and there is a “time” to Execute. Reformulation of Strategy occurs with much greater velocity and relative ease than re-direction of Execution (re-allocation of leadership and resources). While adaptation is essential, rapid adaptation is optimal.
Leadership needs to always remain aware of “where” it is in its enterprise cycle to understand IF Strategy and/or Execution practically CAN be changed/re-allocated at any given point in time. Responsive and precise performance management super-charges that awareness and adaptation.