Short time to execute the right thing

Obviously, the world is having a “moment”. When the death of an African American man in the custody of police causes worldwide protests and more, you know a) we live in a global digital world and b) this is the time to act and make change; the emotion is there, the desire is there, the rough consensus is there. If lasting, compelling change is going to happen, now is the launching pad.

This reminds me soooooo much of what happens in business. A grand vision or objective is announced to the world by a business. Bang, the gun is shot, it is off to the races. Expectations have been set. You now have a 100-meter runway in which to convince the world and the rest of the company that what you said will happen, is actually happening. Then, as you finish the 100-meter dash, at a very high speed, you are hurtled into the next corner of the track, on a trajectory, and at a speed, you have little control over, to run the rest of the race. You better have started the race on the right track, and you better be able to hold your line through the first corner, and all the corners to come. Execution is running at top speed. A strategy is choosing the right track to run on, with the talents you have, and the competition that is and will be running on that track, with the resources you will allocate to that race.

Ultimately, there is no difference between strategy and execution. It is why there is so much literature on the “gap” between strategy and execution (often an organizational gap) and why some people would assert that those that are doing the execution should create the strategy because ultimately, they are the only ones that will run the race – strategy is about resource allocation, and resources are allocated by those that control the resources. If those that are creating the strategy are distinct from those that run the race, those creating the strategy had better be extremely good at influencing those that are running the race (often a key skill sought in strategy professionals). This is for sure true when it comes to business strategy (how will any given business win). It may be a little less true for corporate strategy (what businesses should a corporation be in and whether a corporation should be a holding company or a set of businesses that seek and achieve synergies).

Curve of a running track

In business, and in life, there are moments. Maybe this is why so many people assert that an important part of success is luck – stay humble because it is all luck. What some people see in life and business as luck, others see as moments; moments that arose from nowhere, uncontrolled by any one person or any one company. Moments are a beautiful thing. If you’ve got the talent to ride the tsunami when it rolls in from the other side of the known ocean/universe, then in life and in business, you may be lucky enough to have some success. If you spend your company’s or your community’s resources on the wrong track and the wrong wave, then you will miss the moment; the resources are gone. There is always an opportunity cost to how resources are spent.

Good luck out there, and I hope you ride your tsunami to success, in business, and in life.

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