Here’s a great quote from Steve Case in today’s New York Times:
“I do believe in vision. I do believe in big ideas. I do believe in tackling problems that are complex and fighting battles that are worth fighting, and also trying to, in my case, create companies or back companies. That can change the world. The vision thing is really important — but the execution thing is really important, too. Having a good idea is not enough. You’ve got to figure out some way to balance that and complement that with great execution, which ultimately is people and priorities and things like that. You have to strike the right balance. If you have those together, I think anything is possible. If you don’t have both of them working together in a complementary, cohesive way, you’re not going to be successful.”
I completely agree with this. There are many times in my career where I had a great vision for a product or company, but I didn’t follow through with strong enough execution, and the idea or company failed, but not because it wasn’t a great idea. In fact, I believe that GREAT execution, often with only a mediocre idea, can win in the marketplace. Although great execution is so very hard, I believe it can be achieved with effort, and without luck, and therefore is actually more predictable than a great idea or an idea with perfect timing.