In the foreword to “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”, Harvard Business School Clayton Christensen describes a scene that’s become famous in the world of business.
In the mid-1990s, Christensen received a call from Intel’s Andy Grove. Grove had picked up on Christensen’s research on disruptive innovation, and invited him to fly out to California to discuss the implications on Intel.
After a positive meeting, Grove asked Christensen: “OK. But how do I do this ?”
At first, Christensen started responding with a discussion on business strategy, explaining amongst others how Intel could set up a new business unit. This earned him a terse reply from Grove, who told him “I know what I need to do. I just don’t know how to do it”.
This made Christensen realize a crucial point: the division between what and how is often overlooked in the world of business.
To put it simply: strategizing is easy. Executing is hard.