Great leaders are those with strategies, execution plans, and resources in hand.
A strategy is simply a vision of going from a current situation to a desired state, complete with actionable plans and identified resources. But while this may sound simple, in reality most strategies are anything but simple.
In addition, as Jedi Master Yoda teaches us, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.”
When created in the upper echelons of organizations, strategies tend to be convoluted, cross-functional, big picture in scope, and longer term in outlook and completion tenure. When created at the coalface of operations, strategies tend to be tactical and short-term in nature and usually aimed at solving a single specific problem or challenge.
Mid-level leaders are often tasked with taking strategies developed above and creating tactics and plans to accomplish the assigned goals and objectives. This is why I often refer to mid-level leaders as the glue between strategy and execution.
At all levels strategies must provide a clear roadmap for where the leader wants the organization or team to go, the resources available to get there, and the reasons why it is important to move in the stated direction and toward the desired outcome.
It is the leader’s responsibility to determine the destination and desired state for which the strategy and action plans will be designed. You may involve others in the formulation of your strategies, but my advice is to keep such groups small and highly focused. Too much involvement and participation of others at the strategy development stage can cause unnecessary delays, a slower process, and even paralysis by analysis.
If it takes too long to develop a strategy, or to execute it, the desired results may be missed. Those who hesitate often lose out to more nimble and swifter competitors. That is not something you ever want to have to tell or explain to your bosses, or even your team members.
Remember any strategy is a living thing. You can course correct or make modifications in execution any time you sense you and your team have gone off track. As long as you keep the final destination and the desired results in mind, changes in execution are okay. It’s like sailing, you have to tack and change your sail configuration whenever the wind changes.
On the other hand, do not lead by the seat of your pants. Great leaders are those with strategies, execution plans, and resources in hand.
This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats and has over 1000 quotes on leadership from global business leaders, statesmen, athletes, coaches, sages, and philosophers.