Six paradoxes of leadership: strategic executor



Blair Sheppard,​ PwC Global Leader for Strategy and Leadership, interviews​ Marco Amitrano​, PwC’s UK Head of Consulting, on the notion of Strategic executor.

​How do you execute effectively while also being highly strategic? The megatrends and PwC’s ADAPT are putting multiple urgent issues on the plate of our leaders and exerting pressure on them to solve them immediately in an attempt to restore a sense of stability. The ability to execute in this environment is both harder and more crucial. However, the responsibility of a leader is also to look to the future and make decisions today that will solve the immediate problem and prepare us for the future. This requires a strategic mindset, and the ability to interrogate where the world is going.

The success of any strategy is in its execution but a strategy must first be envisioned, and dynamically adjusted as the world changes while execution is being driven. The paradox is that usually people have an inclination towards strategy or execution. The most powerful approach is to use the opportunity of the challenges of today to set up organizations for success in the future. To do that requires a leader to articulate a strategy, understand how it needs to evolve, and execute with both the immediate need and changing future in mind.

Executing without strategy creates a higher probability of an even more significant crisis in the future and the need to deal with urgent matters even more intensely. However, it is also inappropriate to spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about the future and missing the need to execute now. The best leaders will find a way to take the time to be strategic, will bring the future into the present in order to solve today’s problems with tomorrow in mind, and will get it done.

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