Strategy: Perfection vs Execution

The goal of strategy is not perfection, it’s execution. But why do we fail to execute?
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
Winston Churchill

An imperfect plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
George S. Patton

The goal of strategy is not perfection, it’s execution. (“Action at last!”, we can hear you MBTI J's cry!)

But why do we fail to execute? Because we invest more time and energy in making excuses than managing towards outcomes.

Here are some of our favourite excuse building team games:


As a means of avoiding failure, make absolutely sure that we don’t define success. The vaguer we are the more wriggle room we create for ourselves when judgement day comes. We comfort ourselves with ‘God loves a trier’ when we should be challenging ourselves with Yoda: ‘there is no try there is only do.’


Whatever we do, make sure it’s not clear who is responsible or accountable for the outcome. If that fails, make sure it's someone not in the room and don’t tell them. Now we have the perfectly formed scapegoat awaiting slaughter. At the end of the day we have to have someone to blame.


Here we agree the outcome is so sophisticated it can’t be measured but take an action to find a way to measure it later. But we never do. This allows us the option to turn the progress review into a pantomime:

“We did it!”

“Oh no we didn’t!”

“Oh yes we did!”

More Insights
Strategy requires clarity of vision and mission; they are powerful navigation beacons when it comes to steering the ship.
Leaders as gardeners have a duty of care to help those they lead by equipping them to be able to wait well; how to make history in order to fulfil destiny.
The table can provide us as individuals and organisations with the opportunity to reconfigure our lives as we exit this season of liminal space.
Authentic leaders remain true to their values even in the face of failure because they understand the greatest failure of all is the failure to stay true to their values.