The Makeup of Successful Strategic Leaders

Great strategic leaders execute their strategy with the help of others, guiding, informing, and motivating their teams towards specific areas of strategic significance. It can be difficult to shift an organization from an operational frame of reference to one based on strategy. All teams encounter some resistance that needs to be managed in order to execute a strategic plan, and strategic leaders help their teams navigate through any challenges they encounter as well as keeping the strategic plan on track. CMOE’s Strategic Leadership™ Workshop helps leaders shape the future the organization wants and needs by delivering today’s operational results while also acting and executing on future opportunities.

What Is Strategy Execution?

Strategy execution is the act of carrying out a strategic plan to achieve team and organizational objectives. Successfully executing on strategic goals requires the following elements to be in place:

  • Formulating workflow processes to align with strategic objectives
  • Creating clearly defined roles for team members
  • Helping team members evaluate roadblocks and make effective decisions
  • Creating milestones and goals to set team members up for success
  • Establishing metrics to assess the level of performance and success of each team member as they reach key milestones
  • Motivating, coaching, and inspiring team members along the way

Why Is Strategy Execution Important?

Leaders often spend hundreds of hours on a strategy, but their organizations don’t always execute on the strategy as intended. For example, if a company designs a clever marketing strategy but then fails to market its offerings to target customers as effectively as it could, that customer base could be deprived of an innovative technology or service. Ultimately, the theoretical brilliance of a strategy only matters if and when it’s put into action.

Crucial Components of Strategy Execution

Here are a few of the top components of successful strategy execution:

  1. Ensuring all employees know which decisions they have a right to make and which actions they’re accountable for.
  2. Setting up systems to promptly bring current, frontline marketplace data back to leadership so that it can meaningfully inform decisions.
  3. Encouraging managers not to second-guess their team members’ decisions or redo their work.
  4. Promoting the sharing of information and best practices across departments.
  5. Helping employees understand the effect that their daily decisions have on the organization’s bottom line.

HBR found that these five factors affect strategy execution much more than changes to organizational structure or motivators.

What Does Good Strategy Execution Require?

Successfully executing on strategy requires discipline, and discipline is achieved by setting up detailed, reasonable actions that bring the strategy to life—and that employees are able and willing to follow. Along with formulating a strategy, then, leaders should create a plan to ensure that it can and will be followed.

Strategic execution also requires competent, well-informed employees. Your people are the ones who actually work your strategy; be sure to give them the information, training, decision-making power, and context they need to implement it well.

Strategy Skills

About the Workshop

In order for strategy execution to occur, leaders need to be able to do the following:

  • Set a compelling strategic direction (a “plan to win”)
  • Create a strategic course of action for short- and long-term objectives
  • Develop an implementation plan that allows strategic progress to take place while maintaining operational excellence
  • Link and align strategic plans with the organization’s high-level strategy
  • Hold people accountable by measuring their results against the strategic initiatives they own
  • Encourage strategic innovation that will create competitive advantage
  • Use fundamental leadership skills to execute the plan and create competitive advantages for the organization
  • Allow the process to unfold and be sustained


The Strategic Leadership™ Workshop is a highly interactive learning experience that is built around CMOE’s Strategic Leadership Model™, tools, and resources. This workshop features a business simulation that provides participants with opportunities to develop new and build upon existing strategy and leadership skills. Participants also have the opportunity to assess their current level of effectiveness as a strategic leader and their ability to help sustain the organization’s performance in the future. The learning event concludes with time for participants to begin crafting a strategy for their part of the business by identifying specific actions needed to execute their strategy.

We offer the Strategic Leadership™ Workshop in a variety of learning formats to meet the unique needs and specific deliverables identified by each of our clients. Our subject-matter experts are available at your convenience to discuss how our Strategic Leadership™ Workshop, or our other strategy products and services, can be tailored and customized for your organization.

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“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.”

~ Charles F. Kettering American Engineer and Inventor

“If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?”

~ Basil S. Walsh American Author

“Drive thy business, let it not drive thee.”

~ Benjamin Franklin American Writer and Statesman