A new book about General David Petraeus’ year as commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan  describes at one point four tasks which all strategic leaders - be they military, political, or business - must undertake if they are to be successful.
- First, “get the big ideas right”
- Second, communicate “those big ideas”
- Third, oversee “the implementation of those big ideas”, and
- Fourth, capture the “best practices and lessons” and use them to refine the ideas and process.
There is no magic here, but rather a virtuous circle of continuous improvement if the process is implemented correctly.
“Big ideas” are really about key themes - vision, mission, goals - and the strategies that the leader must develop and employ to move his/her thematic agenda forward. In business turnaround situations, these ideas usually involve an assessment of an organization’s capabilities and the market opportunities available to it coupled with a short list of carefully thought out strategies for actually making something out of the combination.
“Communicating the big ideas” often must begin even before the strategies have been formulated because the leader needs the insights, skills, and efforts of others in the organization to ensure that the hoped-for “big ideas” will actually work (a virtuous circle within a virtuous circle if you will).
None of this matters if the "big ideas" are not implemented. Choosing the right lieutenants, communicating with and through them constantly, setting a proper example, demonstrating your commitment to the “big ideas” through the decisions you make - all of these are important to laying the groundwork for other associates down the line to actually carry out the work of transformation which they will only undertake once they are convinced that the leader is serious about his/her agenda.
And finally, capturing, distilling, communicating and re-enforcing “lessons learned” enables this process to repeat itself with increasing levels of productivity and effectiveness because successful turnarounds invariably require multiple cycles through this process to generate truly successful performance improvement.
If it were easy, organizations wouldn't need strategic leaders.
 Paula Broadwell and Vernon Loeb. All In: The Education of General David Petraeus at amazon.com.