The Bigger Question is about HOW?

The Bigger Question is about HOW?

It was frustrating trying to put together a solid execution strategy for my leadership development framework. This frustration got me thinking about execution excellence. These fragmented pieces needed to be executed as a team for the strategy to succeed. Defining vision and goals is an important step, then understanding the "what"; however, the bigger question is how to implement it.

Let me describe what Excellence means. It is the quality of being exceptional or exceptionally good. Execution excellence means the ability to execute a plan remarkably. But unfortunately, we all know that the execution fails at a high rate. Leaders spend a lot of time and effort creating plans only to discover that other issues arise, leading them away from their organizational goals.

Execution is more important than ever as the pace of business increases. Therefore, it is essential to be clear about your goals and fully committed to and accountable for converting them into tangible daily actions that produce high-quality results; it is more than execution. It all comes down to executing better than your competitors; a company's ultimate success depends on its execution excellence. How can you and your team achieve this consistency? Execution is a fundamental value for leaders. However, it is still a challenge to improve it. This could be due to many reasons. This could be due to a lack of resources or limitations such as time, skills, or the external environment. Another reason is that not everyone in the organization agrees on the priority status of getting things done. According to a Harvard Business Review study, execution was ranked first among various skills. However, others ranked it fourth behind motivating, inspiring and solving problems. There can be some confusion about the importance of execution excellence.

It is important to remember that execution and implementation can sometimes be blurred. They are different. Implementation refers to the actualization of a strategy. Execution refers to the next step, the steps taken to make a strategy successful. It's all about producing tangible and superior results.

How can execution be on time and produce better results than we expected? There are many realistic and sustainable ways to promote a culture of excellence in execution.

Here are some ideas:

1. Solid Strategy

A solid strategic vision is essential. This acts as the blueprint and allows goal deployment to align the people, systems, and processes required to achieve the desired results. But first, is your plan solid? Excellence in the last mile is not a sprint but a marathon. The plan should gather the necessary resources and people to sustain the drive. After these people are in place, it is time to assign clear responsibilities. Once these are in place, assign clear obligations.

2. Focus

Focus provides clarity to help you make the right decisions for your organization's most important goals. Many teams have competing priorities. This can lead to them being pulled in different directions. Focusing on the most critical things is key to solid execution. It's about putting in the most effort in areas with the highest impact. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated, "We are the most focused organization I have ever read about or had any knowledge of." Every day, we say no to great ideas. Great ideas are not what we want to hear. This is so we can focus our energy on the ones that matter most. Superior execution begins with focusing on a few key areas and putting more effort and energy into them. This helps you stay on the path of success that has been clearly defined. It allows you to keep your eyes on the goal and asks: What are you doing to implement your strategy?

3. Capability

Capability is the broadest definition of the term. It includes all skills, systems, processes, and tools a team uses to reach its goals. The ability to achieve their goals is the result. So, how can you build capable teams to execute your strategy?

4. Measures to Success 

Establishing clear measures that can be viewed regularly and, ideally, easily understood will help you assess your progress towards your goals. Most teams focus on lag measures. These are useful for defining the plans if you have met them. But it is even more critical to describe lead measures. These are the measures you can influence. These measures will show how likely you are to achieve your goals. Consider putting the lead and lag scores on a visual scoreboard to help the team see where they stand and where they need to be. The measure of success helps answer the question: How efficient are you in execution?

5. Passion 

Passion instils a sense of connectedness. It fosters a sense of connection among people, a relationship with our human need to do meaningful work, and a link to each person's feelings of worth and contribution. Motivation comes from not only the leader but also the team members when they work with a passion.

It is challenging to achieve execution excellence. It requires discipline, perseverance, and confidence. However, you can build momentum by doing all the above consistently, which creates a self-reinforcing cycle of victory.

About the Author

Dr. Parthiban Vijay Raghavan is an expert in solving an organization's complex problems through accurate diagnosis, designing, innovation, agility, and execution excellence. He is also expertise in Decision Making Process, Leadership Communication, OD, Learning Strategies, and implementation, He is a Certified OB/OD Professional.

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