You’re in the execution business if you’re delivering specific tasks to your clients: writing a marketing piece, building a website, conducting survey research.
Your butt is on the line to deliver your work—on time and on budget—much like a builder finishes a house. With a builder, even if they hire subcontractors, it’s their responsibility to manage the process and deliver a fully functioning house.
Now serving as builder is a proven way—especially when you successfully use leverage—to build a sustainable, high performing business.
But it’s not the only way.
If you’ve hit the wall with execution style tasks and are looking to morph to a more strategic role, start thinking of yourself as the architect.
The architect holds the vision for the build. They know how it needs to perform, what it should look like and when it’s done to the client’s satisfaction.
They probably can’t tell if the HVAC is installed correctly, but they’ll know immediately if it’s not working. And they don’t fix it, but add it to the builder’s punch list.
Escaping execution starts with thinking like an architect. (FYI—this is easier to do with new clients than trying to change an existing relationship.)
Instead of agreeing to write a marketing piece (or build a website), ask those architect questions to get to the strategic intent behind the deliverable.
Be the strategist who helps your client define the outcomes they want and then own the vision—this might wind up looking like an advisory retainer.
The beauty of advisory retainers is that when you structure them right, they are about delivering outcomes, not piecework.
Of course it means you have to work differently and rethink how and what you charge.
But if execution isn’t your magic power, isn’t it worth the shift?