Insight Blog

Strategic Execution and Field Vision

by Pat Musselman

January 21, 2020 | Strategic Execution

The holidays offered a wonderful time to get together with family and friends and enjoy each other’s company. As is customary with our family traditions, the occasional excessive eating was accompanied with the consumption of collegiate and professional sporting contests. As I watched each game, I began to wonder how some athletes seem to have that special something over and above the exceptional physical skills that separate them from their teammates and competitors. How is it that they seem to know where the ball or puck is going before it ever gets there? They just seem to consistently be in the right place at the right time.

To help satisfy my curiosity, I found some material that provided a little insight to what might be their unique talent. One article suggested that visual acuity, or field vision might actually be their secret weapon. The author went on to break out different elements of visual acuity and also stated that some sports teams have actually engaged vision coaches to improve these skills. I was intrigued so I kept reading. Let’s take a closer look at what was described as visual acuity.

Dynamic Visual Acuity: helps improve the ability to see things clearly while in motion and helps track moving objects.

Eye-hand Coordination: determines how well the athlete coordinates control of their eye movement with their hand movement. Improving this skill increases the athlete’s ability to guide reaching, grasping, passing, and hitting within their sport.

Eye Focusing or Accommodation:  refers to the strength, flexibility, and accuracy of the eye focusing system. Accommodative skills allow the athlete to keep objects in focus as well as quickly change focus.

Peripheral Vision: helps to see objects outside of their focal point giving a wider view of the field.

Visual Tracking: the ability to move our eyes from spot to spot while maintaining focus on the object we are looking. Improving visual tracking advances the athlete’s reaction time, speed, and fluidity within their sport.

Visual Reaction Time: the time it takes for environmental stimuli to travel from our vision system into our motor system to produce a physical reaction.

This provided a great distraction over the holidays, but it was now time to get back to thinking about work and embracing the opportunities of 2020. Yet I couldn’t quite let it go as sports team metaphors are used constantly in business, so I also pondered if there might be a lesson here.

Throughout business circles, we frequently talk about the vision of a leader and the importance of having a clear organizational vision or destination that helps us prioritize our efforts and drive results throughout the journey. Once the strategy is developed, planned, and aligned throughout the organization, execution becomes the primary focus. Of course, some do this better than others. Could field vision help explain how some business leaders seem to navigate that journey and adapt to the noise and distractions of the crowd to outperform their competitors?

Over the course of my career, I have seen my share of well-constructed strategies that fail to deliver against their promises along with strategies that met or surpassed expectations. What were the key differences between the two? The answer has never been simple, but field vision does seem to play a part. How so you ask? From my perspective, competence in each element previously outlined can help explain part of the performance difference.

Dynamic Visual Acuity: provides clarity around what and how to change things for a business in motion.

Eye-hand Coordination: coordinates integrated activities in a hyper-connected environment.

Eye Focusing or Accommodation: remains focused on multiple objectives while aligning and communicating shifting priorities. Creates thoughtfully balanced performance measures that are both leading and lagging to aid with focal clarity.

Peripheral Vision: observes risks and opportunities outside of the focal point providing a broader view of the horizon.

Visual Tracking: monitors operational and performance measures continuously to detect anomalies and needed course corrections.

Visual Reaction Time: minimizes the time between the various inputs and thoughtful action.

The American Management Association recently cited a survey of CEOs that rated strategy execution as both their number one and number two most challenging issue. It was estimated that more than 60% of strategies are not successfully implemented. This suggests to me that execution informed by strategy depends upon the systematic ability to monitor the game situation, learning and adapting to the various stimuli along the way. Ok – now I I’m ready to embrace the opportunities of 2020.

Whether you need help with strategic execution or formulating your strategy, contact Lake Shore Associates at for more information on how we can help you realize your specific objectives.