It has been rightly said, "Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats", (by Thomas Jefferson).
Let it be the arena of a sports, entertainment, politics or business, but the question is not -"Will the new strategy work or not?" On the contrary, it is the successful execution of the idea that determines the fortune of any strategy. A great execution can make a shoddy plan successful, but a shoddy execution can fail any great plan, however innovative it may be.
An Accenture and the Economist Intelligence Unit's study indicates that "although executives are confident in their growth strategies, they are less confident in their companies’ ability to execute those strategies". The survey results reported that, only 30-35 percent respondent companies' are effective in executing growth initiatives and innovation strategies.
Another research performed in cooperation with the Centre for Strategy Research (CSR), confirmed this gap between strategy and execution. The study involved detailed conversations with about two dozen executives of Fortune 1000 companies, who associated the importance of innovation very strongly to the successful implementation of growth strategies. However, they resonated to common notions when it came to constraints on execution namely, "budget shortages, absence of experienced resources and so on".
A major reason for failure in execution is the constant shift in focus of strategy. When HP acquired Compaq, to compete with Dell, it shifted its focus every week competing on price, service, technology etc. and forgot completely the highly priced channels. While HP fought for the perfect strategy, Dell succeeded instantly with a powerful execution of customization and "Just In Time (JIT)" strategies. Execution, thereby, is nothing but the art of synchronization, i.e., "getting the right product at the right time to the right customer".
Execution is most important when innovation is at the heart of the strategy. It is most important then to experiment, learn and adapt. In a new business model, even a well thought out strategy lapse in value, while dealing with uncertainty. As quoted by Mr. Ankur Mittal, MD of Ordell Education, the key to success for a creative business model like his is to "analyze every step, adapt to the real environment, than to make a same mistake twice". Adding on, he mentioned the importance of implementation of ideas more than the ideas themselves. According to him, it is more important to "re-evaluate, re-learn and re-execute the strategies as you get your business rolling". Hence, constantly questioned strategies and rewritten solutions forms the backbone of any innovation.
Even the tried and tested strategies do not work in a different environment. It is important to study factors influencing the culture, society, value systems and beliefs of the new environment. The customers' mindset evaluates the perceived benefits in terms of price or/and performance and not technology. So, innovation not merely imply new ideas, but, improved cost positions, better product and enhanced benefits, increasing the overall value for the customer.
For the businesses', innovation implies a better margins position as compared to the competitors. Perfect execution directly equates to the increased financial meter by an improved top line, higher revenues, and a higher return on investments. The focus of companies should, thereby, shift towards the practical implementation than theoretical formulation of creative ideas.