Mission. Strategy. Execution. In that order.
For people who are hard-working by nature, it’s tempting to go straight to Execution without fully mapping the corporate Mission and the Strategy that accomplishes the Mission. The Mission describes the intended result. Without which, it is impossible to map a coherent Strategy to direct one’s efforts (Execution).
Skipping straight to Execution is akin to playing large-group dodge ball and being the eager first person who immediately runs to half-court to throw a ball at the opposing team only to find 30 balls coming back at high speed. You can dodge one or two, but not 30… you get pelted and you’re out. Your team is down one person and it hurt a bit too. In this analogy, the Execution was undoubtedly without reservation, but the Strategy was lacking and the Mission was completely lost. Same in business.
Take a step back to reflect on the Mission and then the Strategy. To people accustomed to putting their head down, working and getting stuff done, this might feel like goofing off or wasting time, especially once your company has been running for a few years. It takes maturity to accept that often your best work is done sitting in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall1 pondering the overall Mission and Strategic alternatives.
The point being, we can be so busy Executing that we don’t really accomplish anything lasting or meaningful because it lacks the larger context of the Strategy and the Mission.
But when it comes time for Execution… Execute. Ideas are a dime-a-dozen. The difference between an idea and a company is the Execution. Good teams, focused on Execution, accomplish amazing results… but only if guided by a worthy Mission and a sound Strategy.