One of the best point/counterpoint sessions was entitled CIO, Plumber or Strategist? It featurd two CIOs arguing from opposite sides of this spectrum.
Was it important to be a great strategist, to have credibility in your organisation by being a leader, delivering on the mission of the organisation, taking part in debates and shaping the future path. being part of the conversation with the executive management team.
Should you establish credibility by having everything work, becoming invisible. Finding out where the leaks were and filling them, ie plumbing. Strategy is OK, but without execution it's useless. Invoking the Shepard's prayer whenever necessary, named after Alan Shepard the astronaut who is alleged to have been caught on mike at the launch of Freedom 7 muttering "please Lord, don't let me f*** up".
If you have no strategy, can waste money and resources in a dynamic changing landscape. Have to know where you're going to make investments or you'll always be a day late and a dollar short. Operational effectiveness is not a strategy.
Operational effectiveness is what drives our ability to be excellent.
So, an interesting debate, and of course it was agreed at the end that both abilities are needed to be successful. You need to have have a strategy, influence, understand and deliver the core mission of the institution, and know where the leaks are and plug them.