Do You Know a Leader or a Company that Excels at Strategy through Execution? Tell Us!

We’ve done a lot of research — at PwC and especially at its strategic consulting group, Strategy& — about the practice of strategy through execution. We’ve often heard about a leadership trait called ambidexterity, sometimes referred to as being bilingual or having “helicopter quality.” In their article “10 Principles of Strategy through Execution,” Ivan de Souza, Richard Kauffeld, and David van Oss describe it as the ability to “think about the technical and operational details of a project in depth and then, without missing a beat, consider its broader ramifications for the industry.” When Strategy That Works authors Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi talk about “translating the strategic into the everyday,” they’re describing this ability as well.

People with this kind of ability tend to be extraordinarily capable leaders. We know they’re rare — or perceived to be rare. In a survey of more than 700 executives across a variety of industries around the world, we asked respondents to rate the effectiveness of their top leaders at strategy (defined as “answering fundamental questions that would lead to long-term success”) and execution (defined as “keeping the company on track in executing the strategy”). Most top executives are perceived as being good at one or the other, but only 8 percent of leaders were deemed very effective at both.

So we need your help. strategy+business is working with a group of researchers at Strategy& and PwC who are interested in interviewing people with this ambidextrous quality. These could be executives and managers at all levels, in any company (but especially in large companies) who have demonstrated the ability to generate long-term success on both dimensions. Do you know a leader gifted at strategy through execution? Is there an enterprise you admire for having a great value proposition and excelling at delivering on it? Please do let us know by completing a brief survey. If you include your email address, we’ll send you a copy of the limited-edition strategy+business 20th anniversary e-book, a special edition of our award-winning “20 Questions for Business Leaders” management feature.

Take our survey at strategy-business.com/interactive/the-leadership-survey to share your recommendations.