• Chris Anibarro

Focus on the Critical Few: The 1st Key to Strategy Execution


With all there is to do each day, it is easy for your strategy to get lost in the chaos. Especially if the strategic goal is unclear or undefined. In fact, research has shown that only five percent of employees have a basic understanding of their strategy!

As leaders, management is responsible for making sure everyone is on the same page and doing the best they can to achieve the mission. Breaking down your goals into manageable, measurable ones, will help everyone stay in alignment.

A core principle of Key 1 is to narrow your focus on the critical few. To be specific, select one or two breakthrough goals.


While this sounds reasonable, it’s NOT how we operate. Most leaders are open to good ideas and see what needs to be fixed or developed for growth to occur. This is what makes them great strategists. HOWEVER, to be great at executing strategy, leaders also have to know when to say when.


There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute.


Great leaders know how to balance the tension between the art of developing strategy and discipline of executing it.

With this in mind, here are four rules for thinking about your Breakthrough Goals: 1. Have only one Breakthrough Goal per person, at the same time.This will become a very important part of implementing the rest of the four keys.

2. The Breakthrough Goal should represent only one aspect of your team's work.It should not focus on a big picture goal, rather a small part of the ultimate goal. Focusing just on increasing "sales" or "profits" is too large of an umbrella. Narrow the focus down more towards an aspect of work such as improving quality, safety or productivity.

3. Choose a goal that represents the most critical gap.Focus on not only what is important, focus also on what is most at risk for being accomplished.

4. Create a clear finish line for every goal. There are three simple but imperative details when looking at your goals:

  • A starting line (From X)

  • A finish line (To Y)

  • A deadline (By When)


These three elements provide specificity to your goals so there is no room for misunderstanding.

People will engage with that they can effect. When we don’t have goals, have too many goals or have unclear goals we lose engagement and the ability to sustain consistent results.

No matter what business you are in, applying the first of the 4 Keys of Strategy Execution is a great place to start. If you find your organization has stalled, become stagnant, is heading in the wrong direction, or if you are preparing to embark on a new venture, contact us today and discuss your strategy and how you can utilize the 4 Keys of Strategy Execution to achieve success.