Strategy Quotes from Jeroen De Flander, Strategy Execution Thought Leader

Strategy Quotes: my all time favorite list!

Strategy quotes and strategy execution quotes are great to spice up a PowerPoint presentation. (At the end of this page, you will find some strategy quotes in an easy-to-use banner format.)

I’ve written several posts like: ‘Useful Strategy Execution Quotes’, ‘Useful Quotes about Strategy’, ‘Amazing Process Quotes’ and ‘my favorite quotes on strategy and strategy execution’.

This list brings them all together.


Download a free checklist : download 100 inspirational quotes about leadership, success, goals and change in an easy-to-use banner format.

Strategy Quotes: my top 5

Strategy Quote #1. “Strategy is a pattern in a stream of decisions” —Henry Mintzberg

Strategy Quote #2. “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”  —Michael Porter

Strategy Quote #3. “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out” —Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles 1962

Strategy Quote #4. “Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things” —Miyamoto Musashi, legendary Japanese swordsman

Strategy Quote #5. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” —Sun Tsu, Ancient Chinese Military strategist

Strategy Execution quotes: my top 5

Strategy Execution Quote #6. “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results” – Sir Winston Churchill

Strategy Execution Quote #7. “Execution is a specific set of behaviors and techniques that companies need to master in order to have competitive advantage. It’s a discipline of its own”  —Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy, Execution

Strategy Execution Quote #8 “Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite” —Robert Half

Strategy Execution Quote #9. “Strategy Execution is the responsibility that makes or breaks executives” —Alan Branche and Sam Bodley-Scott, Implementation 

Strategy Execution Quote #10. “You can have anything you want – you just can’t have everything you want”—Anonymous

Strategy quotes / strategy execution quotes: the best of the rest

Here’s a longer list with strategy and strategy execution quotes (including my humble contribution). You will also find some results quotes, process quotes and quotes about plans. [I created a separate list with success quotes]

Strategy Quote #11. “Strategy is thinking about a choice and choosing to stick with your thinking”

Strategy Quote #12. “You cannot be everything to everyone. If you decide to go north, you cannot go south at the same time.”

Strategy Quote #13. “Corporate Social Responsibility should be more than coloring your annual report green and giving a bag of money to your favorite charity in return for some nice pictures”

Strategy Quote #14. “Like strategy, innovation is a cool word. Put strategy and innovation in a single phrase and a strategy tourist starts drooling.”

Strategy Quote #15. “Don’t fool yourself: having a strategy map is not the same as having a strategy”

16. “Don’t go for small commitments on big things, but aim for big commitments on small things”

17. “Dear Executives, execution commitment is not for sale. You have to earn it” 

18. In a crisis: “A previously approved strategy could very well be less realistic today, due to reduced execution capacity in your organization.”

19. “Dear CEO, when you get tired of telling the strategy storyline, you have reached three percent of your target population”

20. “Most of us know the marketing concept of good communication. To make a message stick in the head of a future consumer, you need to deliver the message seven times using seven different channels. Why do executives think that to make a strategy stick, a boring speech delivered once  will be enough?”

21. “In a 4×100-metre relay race, one runner starts before the other, but in the end it’s the sum of the four runners that determines performance”

22.“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all” —Peter Drucker

23. “What’s the use of measuring speed if you don’t go in the right direction”

24. “A Balanced Scorecard helps turn parrots – people who just repeat what they have heard – into ambassadors – people who understand the what and why and can reason decisions with others”

25. “If you have too many rear view mirrors , it will be very difficult to see the road ahead” 

Strategy Execution Quote #26. “From Good to Great is nice, but knowing when great is good enough is even better.”

Strategy Execution Quote #27. “Strategy Execution isn’t something other people should worry about while you are doing something far more important” 

28. “Budgets are like oil tankers – they need time to change course. You don’t want to be left standing on the deck of your oil tanker, watching all the opportunities pass you by unable to stop and turn to chase after them.”

29. “Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment” —Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last

30. “After a business implements a strategy, competitors will react, and the firm’s strategy will need to adapt to meet the new challenges. There is no stopping point and no final battle. The competitive cycle continues on perpetually. Produce and compete or perish”  —Thomas Timings Holme

31. “Body language can’t save you when someone is reading your strategy document”

32. “When building a new strategy, don’t ever let people seduce you with the line, ‘But that’s always been budgeted for’.”

33. “The best time to make up your mind about people is never” —Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story

34. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction”—Albert Einstein

35. “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak” —Hans Hoffmann,  Introduction to the Bootstrap

36. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—Leonardo Da Vinci

37. “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work” —Peter Drucker

38. “Initiative prioritisation doesn’t mean distributing all available resources to all known projects”—Volker Voigt

39. “Strategy Execution is all about realizing the full potential of your strategy – and not limiting yourself to only 50, 60 or 70 percent” 

40. “I have never seen a successful project run by a bad project manager”

41. “An organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage” —Jack Welch

42. “Developing people in a classroom is a cost. It becomes an investment when they start applying what they learnt on-the-job. It only becomes a success the moment it has a positive impact on (performance) what the job actually needs to achieve”

43. “In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are” —Arnold H. Glasgow

44. “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them” —Denis Watley

45. “No goal commitment equals no performance, whatever else you try”

46. “We tend to think that, in a traditional organisation, people are producing results because management wants results, but the essence of a high-quality organisation is people producing results because they want the results. It’s puzzling we find that hard to understand, that if people are really enjoying, they’ll innovate, they’ll take risks, they’ll have trust with one another because they are really committed to what they’re doing and it’s fun” —Peter Senge

47. “Real commitment means doing everything in your power to get things done.”

48. “Like a human being, a company has to have an internal communication mechanism, a ‘nervous system’, to coordinate its actions”  —Bill Gates, co-founder Microsoft

49. “The result of bad communication is a disconnection between strategy and execution” —Chuck Martin, former Vice President IBM

50. “Look beyond the send button and shift your focus to the receiving end”  

Strategy Execution Quote #51. “If companies would invest as much time in their strategy cascade as they do in their budgeting process, most would perform a lot better”

Strategy Execution Quote #52. “In many organisations, budget is king. It’s like the Amazon, the source of life. The strategy process is more like a small stream that meanders slowly through the organisation (and if you’re unlucky, the water doesn’t flow at all and starts to smell).” 

Strategy Execution Quote #53. “A strategy, even a great one,  doesn’t implement itself”

Strategy Execution Quote #54. “Just because someone said yes to you doesn’t mean something is going to happen. Most of the yeses we get are noes in disguise”

Strategy Execution Quote #55. “Don’t measure your performance by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished within your capabilities”

7 Ways to Keep Your Focus on Execution After the Idea -

Article from

7 Ways to Keep Your Focus on Execution After the Idea

Martin Zwilling

Guest Writer

Veteran startup mentor, executive, blogger, author, tech professional, and Angel investor.

February 26, 2016

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every startup begins with an idea, but from that point forward, it’s all about execution. Founders soon learn that customers only spend real money for solutions rather than ideas. Investors have also learned not to invest in ideas but only in entrepreneurs and teams who can deliver solutions. Success requires moving your passion quickly from the idea to the business implementation.

Related: How Strategic Planning Transforms Chaos Into Confidence

A good execution requires a plan and the right people, combined to create operational excellence and exceptional customer value. Companies that do this best become market leaders. Google, for example, was not the first Internet search provider (think Yahoo!, AltaVista, InfoSeek and others), but according to Investopedia, Google was the first to really monetize search.

As a result, Google has become a verb, and the company is a tech giant with record growth rates and a revenue of $74.5 billion in 2015. But Google is not unique. Many other companies have followed a similar set of execution principles which I believe are required for business success, no matter how great the idea:

1. Tune the business model to optimize value for all constituents.

Smart entrepreneurs architect a value chain that includes customers, partners and vendors, based on market dynamics. They then drive innovations and solutions to feed that value chain. A growth model without monetization for key players is not a long-term success strategy.

2. Plan for pivots as improvements based on results.

If every plan adjustment is a reaction to a crisis, you won’t take corrective action quickly enough and will never find new opportunities. Continuous improvement applies to the business model as well as the product. Set business goals and milestones, and use metrics to track performance.

3. Enable team members to run the business as their own.

Every team member needs the motivation, training and authority to make day-to-day decisions without review and approval. That means milestones have to be documented, measured and desired results rewarded. The whole team is required to deliver a winning customer experience.

Related: 4 Reasons to Be Cautious in Taking Action

4. Two-way communication at all levels is always top priority.

People who don’t know what is expected of them can’t do the job. Customers won’t be happy if you and your team don't listen to feedback and expectations. Strong leaders realize that effective communication becomes exponentially more difficult as the number of players increases.

5. It’s hard to improve results that you don’t measure.

In operationally excellent businesses, productivity and results are measured at every step in the value chain, not just at the end. Targets are benchmarked against competitors, customer reviews and industry expert expectations. Merely keeping up with previous results is falling behind.

6. Define at least one worst-case scenario and recovery plan.

Proactively engaging the team in building a plan-B is the only way to assure a timely response to key challenges. A passionate commitment to an idea alone will not carry the business over downturns in the economy, market evolution or customer trend changes. A great business must be agile.

7. Optimize team efforts with the latest technology and tools.

In this era of rapid technology advancement, an open mind must be the norm in leveraging the latest tools and process architectures. This means regular team training and update sessions, bringing in outside experts, and working with partners and vendors on win-win deals.

Business excellence is a convergence of technology and business elements to maximize customer value as well as company and partner returns. This convergence is not a one-time effort, but an iterative review and improvement mentality that has to be drilled into the team and built into every process and measurement. It has to start with the entrepreneurs at the top.

Google, with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin leading the charge, demonstrated a technical leadership combined with the foresight to bring in business help, including Eric Schmidt and others, to optimize the business execution focus. Are you sure your startup is moving beyond the idea stage, with the execution principles outline here, to assure long-term business success?