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Strategy execution essentials – 4 critical aspects

Strategy execution best practices


The Sunday night thriller saw the Indian cricket team emerge victorious in a match that went right down to the wire! With the Kiwis requiring 15 runs of the last over, a very doable feat in the game of today, the man entrusted with the last over stuck, with precision, to a key thing called ‘optimal execution’.

Here’re four things that I learnt from Jasprit Bumrah about optimal execution that correlates well with our professional lives, when he revealed what went on in his mind in that exciting last over;

Staying calm – Managing risks:

 “I tried to stay calm. If you try to complicate, then [a] lot of things happen. [I] stayed calm, and [the] job was to execute. It’s important to ‘shut out’ external pressure. I was just focusing on ball-by-ball and kept [the] expectations of people away.” – Bumrah

 Bumrah’s ability to identify ‘pressures’ a.k.a ‘risks” that were specific to him which would impede ‘his’ performance and to be able manage them well during that over is certainly a key learning on risk management for me!

Very often, we remain oblivious to the various things that impede our performance at work; risks we may encounter. It is only likely that we get stressed when a risk materializes because we aren’t prepared for it. Our ability to remain calm certainly has a lot to do with identifying what is going to stress us out!

Risks are not only the management’s problem, it is ours too. Our ability to identify goal centric risks in our own spheres of work, preparing for them and managing them well is certainly a key determinant of our success.

A ball-by-ball focus – The discipline:

 Another thing that struck me in what Bumrah revealed was his attempt to remain steadfastly focused on every ball that he bowled.

 And, business execution is merely that isn’t it? Going about implementing our plan, every single day & moment of our working; staying disciplined and persistent certainly contributes a great deal to our success.

Localized strategy – Contextual application of skills & remaining agile:

 “I tried to look at the batsman till the end, but decided what delivery to bowl just before the release. It was difficult to bowl because batting got easier thanks to the due”, Bumrah said.

 I am quite sure that the Indian team, its coaches and managers would have discussed at length the various things that they needed to do for every NZ batsman who came down to bat. I find this akin to organizational level planning and strategizing.

However, the key was how Bumrah ‘adapted’ his bowling to suit the conditions that prevailed.  This too, I believe, is an intrinsic component of success. Our ability to consider the conditions around us (markets and internal) and to apply our skills to the ‘specific context’ as warranted, however, remaining within the overall paradigm of the organizational strategic boundaries is certainly a critical success factor.

Execution is everybody’s business:

Every organization is merely a sum of the achievements of its employees. It wasn’t enough that Virat and Rohit scored amazing tons and posted a huge score. It wasn’t enough that Yuzvendra Chahal produced a great spell as well. It was required for Bumrah to finish off in the manner that he did, for India to win. So, well, execution is for sure everybody’s business.

So, congratulations to the Indian team! And, a special thank you to Bumrah for sharing what went on in your mind during that over. It certainly taught me a few things about optimal execution!

Abishek Keerthi Narayan

Abishek Keerthi Narayan

Abishek has over 12 years of global experience in formulating and implementing business strategies. An engineer in telecommunications from VIT, Abishek worked as a software engineer with an MNC briefly before moving on to assume responsibilities in managing the technology division of an emerging Indian start-up. He eventually transitioned onto assuming accountabilities in the realm of business strategy where he aided in the development of new business verticals to take advantage of the emerging market opportunities. Armed with an MBA from HEC Montreal and a black belt in Lean Six Sigma from Anexas Denmark, Abishek has partaken in several strategic & operational consulting projects for clients in India as well as in Canada. Currently, he is Manager, Business & Strategy at Metis.
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