Where Do You Want To Fall On The Strategy vs. Execution Spectrum?

There is a belief in consulting circles that strategy is more upstream than execution.

That you will reach a higher-level client and deal with bigger issues than a focus on pure execution will bring you.

And that is generally true.

Only generally because a lot of firms—solo, boutique and mega—have made a big impact plus plenty of cash by implementing a strategy they didn’t develop.

A few have managed to do both strategy and execution, although that’s trickier: HR specialists and communication or technology wizards can sometimes skate on both ponds.

But if your aim is to build authority and a sustainable business as a soloist, you’ll usually get there faster if you focus on the strategic end of the spectrum. (For more on moving from execution to strategy, check out our podcast episode on that here.)

And that means getting exquisitely clear on the niche you’re serving and the client transformation you’re midwifing.

So the technical expert who has seen multiple implementations go sideways could pivot to advising clients before they make that big decision.

The designer who is more interested in developing brand strategy than creating collateral might start referring out the execution portion.

The key is to know exactly what you’re selling.

And why.

Just a few words of caution: strategy and execution require different positioning and different business models.

The strategist can usually remain solo (and even turn that into a competitive advantage).

The execution specialist might need to hire contractors on a regular basis or decide to build a firm instead.

My point is not that one is better than the other.

It’s that you need to decide where you want to fall on the spectrum so you can go all in.

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