Insights

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:

Vagary.

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.’

Irresponsibility.

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.

Immeasurability.

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!”

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