When executive teams develop their strategy, they quickly like to get to the action plan: What are we going to do to make this happen? The plan often includes activities such as opening new locations, entering new markets, launching new products and services and potential acquisitions and merger opportunities. The team feels happy at this point because they’re going to get stuff done.

But strategies benefit from two other actions that are often overlooked during the planning stage: (1) Building key assets, and (2) Developing strategic capabilities.

Assets are the things you own. They include physical assets, such as factories, retail shops and office locations. But they also include non-physical assets, including brands, patents, customer lists and websites. Which of your assets are of most value to your strategic ambitions, and which are worth developing further? Conversely, which are worth simply maintaining or even selling?

Capabilities are the unique mix of skills, systems and processes that underpin your success. Some companies are brilliant at customer service (Ritz-Carlton), while others excel at new product development and introduction (BMW), brand management (LVMH) or operational excellence (McDonalds). What are the capabilities that you need to drive your strategy forward, how effective are those capabilities currently and where do you need to make material improvements?

Strategy is more than getting stuff done. It also includes developing your assets and your capabilities in line with your strategic aims. And that can make the difference between strategic success and failure.

Off The Record: It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) by Bob Dylan

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn

Suicide remarks are torn

From the fool’s gold mouthpiece, the hollow horn

Plays wasted words, proves to warn

That he not busy being born

Is busy dying