Building a performance culture is never as easy as it sounds. Looking back a few years, I try to recall a few of those companies that hogged great media attention and had a grand strategic vision. Many of them failed. And many of them will fail again and again, because the heroes are strategic visionaries that never bothered to deal with the issue of execution; continually and personally making sure that things were actually done. You know, when all is said and done, usually more is said than done…
“Execution” is about getting things done, being persistent and realistic, as well as managing the 3 core processes; strategy (why? and what?), operations (how?) and people (who?). It is the missing link between aspirations and results and making it happen is the business leader’s most important job.
For a business, I believe it’s paramount to make sure that you have a well-balanced team on all levels in the hierarchy. This also includes having enough executives with execution traits. Don’t assume you have it, go test it!
In my experience, the single biggest enemy of effective execution is fear of failure. You fail, but you survive. Usually. Sadder, maybe. Smarter, maybe. More adult and more human, certainly.
To create is to fail – if only by revising plans, revisiting strategies and tying up loose ends that seemed a good idea during the months they took to draw. Eventually the sign of a good execution strategy should be such that the quality of the company and the character of its management leap off the page.
We all fall down in our lives at one point or another. Some stay down; others get back up.
Since failure is painful, it’s impolite to dwell on it. You don’t shake Maria Sharapova’s hand and say, “Nice to meet you, lady. That last set of yours sure was a botch job.”
We can cringe in embarrassment at our failures or wear them proudly as noble scars, as the evidence of struggle that they certainly are.
Disciplines like strategy, leadership development, and innovation are the sexier aspects of being at the helm of a successful business; actually getting things done never seems quite as glamorous. The ultimate difference between a company and its competitor is, in fact, the ability to execute.
Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner.
How would you like to improve the execution skills of your team ?