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Strategic Execution

The Million Doller Idea

Sherry Andre
Assistant Professor

Johnson & Wales University
Guest Blogger

With the New Year right around the corner, it is pretty safe to say many people will be creating a list of New Year’s resolutions. However, the reality is most people will never accomplish what they set out to achieve. Is it because their idea or plan is flawed? Probably not. Instead, it is much more likely to be the result of a failed attempt at execution, similar to a well defined strategy that fails to reach fruition due to implementation failure.

Do you think you are the exception? I don’t know. If you’re reading this maybe you are, but regardless I ask you to consider the following. I’ve heard we are exposed to at least one $1 million idea every day, but most, in fact almost all of us fail to do anything with those ideas. In a world so obsessed with money and material objects, this sounds a bit contradictory.

Watermelon, Zucchini, Keystones, & Strategic Leadership

WatermelonIn The Strategic Leader, I suggest that leaders are responsible to create the conditions by which individuals and organizations can flourish.  Consider these two examples.  

Years ago, the central common bond among my executive team was a love of farming. Having come from a non farming childhood, I had difficulty being accepted into the group on any basis except competence.  I set out to hone my farming instincts and not only participated in hay baling, castrating bulls, and butchering pigs but started gardening.  I got a bunch of books on the subject and set out my plants, and watered as directed in a small space in my yard.  Lo and behold, I soon had giant watermelons, corn as high as the sky and more tomatoes and zucchini than I could eat in two years. 

Thumb Prints - Hand Prints - Foot Prints

I was on a panel discussing the most important features of leadership at The Hague, Netherlands a few years ago when I heard the most profound story of the importance of coherence and shared vision and the role competition, cooperation and collaboration play in it. 

It seems that after the fall of the Berlin Wall emancipated countries and cities across the Soviet bloc became a beehive of activity to create a new vision.  It seems that in one such city, the newly elected Mayor commissioned an artist to do a rendering of the city that captures its essence.  His hope was to create a mural that would be on display in the lobby of City Hall that displayed the energy and goodness of the city in an image.
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