Fortune Magazine says 70% of CEOs fail because they don’t take action. The real problem isn’t the high-level strategy. It’s bad execution! Your strategy becomes public knowledge rather quickly – the deal breaker is in how well you execute! Southwest Airlines is the only airline that has made money every year for the past 27 years. Everyone knows its strategy, yet no company has successfully copied its execution. How do you know it you have an Execution problem? Increasing Revenue is not accompanied by increasing Profit. Dealing with the same internal problem(s) over and over. Not consistently delivering the same quality (including delivery time) product/service. Taking too much time to make and/or distribute your product/service. Everyone is pointing the finger at some other entity to try to deflect liability and blame. Too many boring meetings. Slow decision-making – not enough relevant and accurate feedback. “The reality in most organizations is that execution too often turns into talking about execution.
It becomes talking instead of doing. You must build a unified organization that is quick, bold and knows how to execute.” (Tom Peters, author In Search of Excellence) Execution requires a plan, discipline, systems, accountability, and commitment. Here are some tools and actions I have found that make execution happen consistently: Awareness of where you are now – try the Gazelles 10 Habits Execution Checklist.
A 90-day action plan with 3-5 goals supporting your Strategic Goals – complete with action steps, who is responsible, and when each is to be completed. Commitment of resources – giving your team both the responsibility and the authority to execute. Measuring the right Key Performance Indicators and knowing what they mean. Documented processes. If it isn’t written – it is not a process. Knowing the difference between a problem and a “tension” – you solve problems, but manage “tensions”. Constant attention to your supply chain – your vendors are your customers too. Keeping your team “Synchronized”—a well-run, meaningful Daily Huddle (10-12 minutes).