Why Do Only 8% of Leaders Excel at Both Strategy and Execution?

  • May 9, 2019

A survey quoted by the Harvard Business Review revealed a shocking statistic about the effectiveness of top leaders across a variety of industries in the areas of strategy and execution: Only 8% of leaders were rated to be highly effective at both.

Why is this? And what is the impact of this type of imbalance in your organization?

In my life and business, I’ve found that strategy and execution are inextricably linked. They go together like PB&J. You just can’t unstick them if you’re trying to get where to want to go.

Most of us know intuitively whether we excel at one or the other. For me, I have a tendency to align myself quickly with the big picture, and not as readily to the small details. By devoting extra time and emphasis on executing the tactics, I’ve been able to overcome my personal imbalance and lead our team to be a better resource for our clients.

For example, direct response often needs to be part of an organization’s strategic marketing plan. There is an incredible amount of minutia involved with flawlessly executing direct response programs, from data hygiene to accurate production specs to managing logistical details –all of which are potential pitfalls.

The value of partnering with a professional firm that excels in both strategy and execution is that you get a clear understanding of what’s doable up front.  When everything is provided by the same partner, it’s seamless. It’s easier to do business. You get your outcomes quicker and with less stress when you have a partner who can help you clear the hurdles by planning for them. These efficiencies translate to cost savings, time savings, and improved results.

Excelling in both strategy and execution is a back and forth balance. It’s hard to do, which is why so few leaders excel at both. One way to improve your own effectiveness as a leader is to be candid with yourself.  Are you paying attention to the details?  Are you continuing to innovate, reinvent and improve?

To talk with a partner that tightly aligns tactical execution with strategy, please give us a call or send us an email.


-Jordan Grable, CEO, Echo Strategic

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