Many organizations have learnt the hard way that even great strategies are lost because of poor execution. When a company fails to deliver a promise, it says the real problem is with the strategy, but fundamentally strategies most often fail because they aren’t executed well. Some classic examples are RIM, Nokia, Kodak and Yahoo. In spite of having the best strategies in the world, they had to sail through a rough patch. It is all about Strategy Execution at the right time with the right set of people having the right mindset.
However beautiful the strategy, you must and need to keep a tab at the results from time to time. In reality, Execution is the key to enable an idea to live its life and this indeed is the major job of a business leader. But the fundamental problem is that leaders think it to be tactical and start delegating while concentrating on other bigger challenges. Leaders fall a victim to this trap and fails to understand why people don’t perform well.
Let’s get some insights on how to mend the execution muddle.
A really great talent finds its happiness in execution
No more a leader can rely merely on his vision for survival. He must link the goal to results with proper execution of the strategy. A good chunk of leaders is good at strategic thinking but gets uninvolved in the “how” of getting things done. This forgotten skill needs to be revived in every leader. Leadership action needs to be in sync with the strategy. At the same time, getting in micromanaging things equally can be a cause of worry. Hence, striking the right balance is the key.
Choose the right team
The leader should never delegate this crucial part of picking his team to someone else. Sometimes a leader picks those people with whom they share a comfortable equation. This becomes a major roadblock and is a sure shot ingredient preparing for failure. Pick a team with the right skill set with a focused mind free of stereotypes.
Set Execution Metrics, Share picture of success, and Monitor progress
A senior team has many challenges, but one of the most important one is to agree on the time window on discussing strategy and its execution. Develop common execution metrics, shared picture of the success and provide full empowerment to the team to lead. Strategy execution experience and focus is must in the leader who drives the entire process. Be honest about your abilities to build further capabilities. Convert vision and goals into tangible actionable items. Eliminate barriers to knowledge sharing between employees. Start mending follies and build bridges cross functionally.
Never practice monopoly of decision and Don’t use hierarchy to influence
A true leader never wants to have a team of dead fishes who have nothing to say. Learn to step over your ego. Coach and be coached. Value people who have opinions. Refrain from using the whip. Try shifting the gears from expert to influencer in a true sense.
Internalize and Institutionalize Execution in your culture
Imbibe this culture of “how, what and when” to do with available resources. Coach, Reward and promote honest dialogues. Every business leader must master the art of execution for establishing credibility and cultural transformation in the organization. To execute a strategy successfully, you need a good plan and an even better culture.
Insecurity is one of the residual effect of change management. When organization gets into new strategy execution, employees may not be receptive enough to these changes. “Do I need to start hunting for a new job?” “Will my timing and role change?” A culture of effective Communication, Collaboration and the philosophy that to be successful, together we must execute is must to propagate.
As Michael Porter rightly says “The essence of strategy is that you must set limits on what you're trying to accomplish”. Success doesn't necessarily come from only breakthrough innovation but equally from flawless execution. By adopting a refreshingly different approach to strategy implementation you may not be there yet, but you may be closure than you were yesterday. Great decisions play a pivotal role in the journey of execution. At the same time, leadership without the discipline of execution is never effective. We often invest more time in getting the credit of making a strategy and lose focus on its execution. A great strategy alone won't win a game or a battle. It is seen that execution driven companies adapt faster than the other because they are closer to the situation. Remember no matter how great your idea is, if you can’t execute it, you are no different from someone without an idea.