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Execution: the engine of your success.

Execution: the engine of your success.

One of my personal mottos is “Make it Happen.”

In fact, my job title at Kinesis is Execution Team Leader. I bring the “get ‘er done” mentality to our team, our clients, our projects, and our professional development.  A recent article over at inspired me to share a few tips on how to make the big projects more manageable, how to find the right resources, and how to work around the roadblocks.

We’re big fans of the approach. Here’s some of their advice on getting things done:

  • Define what “done” looks like: It’s time to get specific, people! Clearly state what the completed project looks like, and assign a due date (and stick to it!).
  • Scope out each project: Think through the key components of each project before you begin. Then scope out the key steps – what needs to be accomplished with due dates assigned (and again, stick to it!).
  • Single point accountability: Assign a lead to each project – many people can be involved, but only one person should be held accountable. The leader makes sure everything gets done, and doesn’t mean they have to do it all themselves.
  • Separate projects from tasks: Projects are the long-term, while tasks are the short-term items to move each project forward. Identifying the specific tasks will make the project much more manageable.
  • The 1 thing: Asking yourself what the #1 thing is to accomplish each week to move a project forward makes the project itself much less daunting. Thinking through all of the tasks can be overwhelming, so break it down.
  •  “Stuff” happens: Set realistic outcomes and deadlines that take into account the distracters. Things come up – but make your deadline a promise and achieve your milestones.

90% of strategies fail

One additional tip that I would add is the importance of involvement from all levels. From the top down, there should be ownership and commitment to both planning and execution. From an article on the Financial Times Press, “The greater the interaction between ‘doers’ and ‘planners’ or the greater the overlap of the two processes or tasks, the higher the probability of execution success.” For more on the importance of leaders supporting the process, see our previous post on achieving your goals.

Need proof? Here are a few statistics to back up the importance of execution:

  • According to Harvard Business School professor Robert Kaplan, 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution.
  • Based on a Harvard Business Review database, employees at three out of every five companies rated their organization weak at execution – that is, when asked if they agreed with the statement “Important strategic and operational decisions are quickly translated into action,” the majority answered no.
  • A Bain Consulting study notes that seven out of eight companies in a global sample of 1,854 large corporations failed to achieve profitable growth, though more than 90% had detailed strategic plans with much higher targets.

Quoting Chip and Dan Heath from their book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, “Ambiguity is the enemy. Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors. In short, to make a switch, you need to script the critical moves.”

You want something done? Let’s make it happen. It’s all about the execution.

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