The Art of Balancing Strategy and Execution: Five Tips for the C-Suite



It is obvious to every executive at the C-Level that strategic thinking is important. All too often the reality tactical execution comes crashing in around you, and you can’t lift yourself out of the weeds to see the overall picture. Striking the balance between strategy and execution is not a skill, it is an art. And it’s an art you need to master to survive. Here are five tips to help you navigate the

1) A competent aide-de-camp is indispensable

Every general needs a good lieutenant to execute their orders, keep their timelines, and disseminate their commands down to the trenches. Finding your perfect aide-de-camp is often difficult, but it is the key to mastering the balance between strategy and execution. With a competent assistant you can focus on the high-level aspects of ongoing projects without getting mired in the weeds. Rely on your assistant to keep the chain of command running smoothly, and clarify any ambiguities.

2) Encourage your team to be collaborators

One of the things that social media and gamification has taught us, is that people want to collaborate, comment, and share in experiences and activities. The silo approach no longer works, and allowing your team to keep their blinders on will only serve to drag you into individual crises. However, if you engage your team and get their buy in to an environment of co-creation and collaboration they will often become self-directed and ambitious about projects that were formerly viewed as just “work.”

3) Project Management Software

If you don’t have a thorough project management software solution in place, you need to get one. Now. With so many tools at your fingertips there is no reason not to organize your projects in a logical, one stop shop. The days of sticky notes and hastily scribbled notes are over. Organize, organize, organize! We are software agnostic at PlazaBridge Group. Our advice is to look at your needs, identify your weak areas, and choose a solution that best fills those gaps.

4) The reality check

You cannot avoid the tactical forever. It does no one any good if you stay in the ivory tower and pondering strategy all the time without checking in to see where you are with milestones and goals. Holding regular meetings with the leadership to assess progress and obstacles, as well as conversations with your team to get a sense of their pain points will help you better plan your next move. Strategy is nothing without situational awareness. Be honest with yourself, and take constructive criticism, those that challenge your strategy will show you the holes to plug and make your plan stronger for it. 

5) Know when to hire outside teams

On occasion you will find the need to solicit the help of outside teams. Often this is because of an internal shakeup within your department, perhaps an integral person has left and you need short-term help meeting deadlines. Or there is a long-term need for a team to come in and execute while evolving processes from the inside. Whatever your pain point is, the outside team presents a strong advantage and helps you maintain momentum without forcing you to get caught up in the day to day execution. There are some considerations for choosing the right outside team, as covered previously by Brendan Szulik on this blog. Make sure that you choose the right team to meet your organizational need.

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