There’s a difference between planning, strategy, and execution.
All too often they are used interchangeably for the idea of “having a plan”.
The truth is that you already have a plan.
Whether it’s written down on paper or not, you have a general idea of what you want to do. Where you want to go. What success looks like. You already know what that is.
With or without a PowerPoint presentation, you can easily articulate your goals and the metrics that indicate how well you are doing.
But that is not a strategy. Nor is it a execution. It’s not really planning either.
Its just hopes and dreams.
A lot of both of those.
In business you are often faced with the challenge of needing to “have a plan”. That’s what the corporate hierarchy demands. You need to be able show the road map.
Just make sure you factor in time for execution. Make sure in all of your planning and presentation you think about delightful ways to make the plan work. Not for you, but for the customers that are a part of it.
Anything else is just going through the motions.
And, unless you are a robot, being boring and unfeeling isn’t a combination that yields success.
That’s where plans differ from strategy. If your plan is the road map then strategy is your style of transportation. If you know where you want to go then strategy helps you know how you plan to get there.
Usually there are several strategies that will help you accomplish your goal. It’s not a matter of good versus bad strategy, but rather than a discussion of what is working right now.
A train is pretty fast when compared to a horse and buggy. But a train isn’t the fastest mode of transportation when compared to an airplane. But even this observation is short sighted. A train might be a better form of transportation between two big busy cities where an airplane would consume too much of your time waiting through security and delays that come with taking off and landing in a busy city.
The nuances of strategy and the changing economics of your industry present creative opportunities for you to rethink how business is best done.
That strategy needs to be revisited often.
If your plan is the road map and your strategy is your style of transportation, then execution is you hitting the gas pedal.
Just having a plan and a way to get you there isn’t enough to achieve results. Execution is key to implementation.
Far too often, business strategies are discarded with the explanation that “they just don’t work” when the truth is that they are not being worked.
What is often missing from strategy is the execution.
So the metrics that are being interpreted show little forward progress. You end up with mediocre results at best.
Make a plan. Build a strategy. Be as creative as you can be. Then work like a crazy man to start making your plan a reality.
Hopes and dreams are great for Hollywood movie endings.
(In the real world, getting lucky isn’t the most reliable strategy.)