10Picking OwnersFour Executives Don't Run a Company

Who owns the formulation of a company's strategy and who owns the execution? These may seem like simple questions, but I can assure you confusion exists on these topics. To a large extent, the lack of clarity in answering these questions also contributes to the failure in designing a strategy that can work, and executing it successfully.

Owning the Formulation

We all agree that for an organization to succeed, its people need to be aligned and focused in one direction. As we endeavor to achieve that, an assumption is made that the strategy that is formulated needs to be bottom-up, not top-down. While that sounds very democratic (and in my view somewhat socialist), it's not the right way to approach strategy.

Here's the issue: As one moves down an organization, the roles and competencies become more operational and less strategic. That group is really focused on getting the job done, and preoccupied throughout the day with meeting customer expectations. When executives put a new idea on the table, the rest of the organization immediately thinks of how this new idea can be delivered through the existing operating framework and processes. If it can't, the red flags go up and the immediate response is that it can't be done because the existing processes or technology cannot handle it.

This perspective misses the whole point of developing a new, breakthrough strategy, which is to do things differently. Therefore, I am a strong believer ...

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