The proof is in. Excellence in both Strategy and Execution can be achieved!
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies indicated that while the prefrontal cortex is engaged during strategic thinking, those that are the “best strategic performers” engage other parts of their brain when embracing the tactical side of executing a sound strategy.
Emotional processing, planning based on conclusions from prior outcomes, as well as sensory stimuli processing and anticipation of organizational reactions to plans all come in to play. See When Emotional Reasoning Trumps IQ in the September issue of HBR. The authors state:
“People associate strategy with rational thinking and other high-level functions of the prefrontal cortex but the best strategic thinkers show more activity in parts of the brain linked with emotion and intuition. Their nervous systems may even repress rational thought to free those areas up….
Of course, IQ-based reasoning is valuable in both strategic and tactical thinking – but it’s clear that managers integrate their brain processes as they become better strategists. When companies realize that, they may approach strategy and execution more holistically.”
I may put that on my resume…integrated brain processing.