In this episode, James and Megan wrap up the series on Strategy by talking about the one thing that should happen to ensure we haven’t wasted our time…Execution!
Why is execution critical to successful strategy?
- Because without execution, nothing happens!
- We can plan all day or all year, but if we don’t put the plan into motion, nothing will happen.
- There are cases where the our planning efforts may dictate that we not go forward. That’s okay. It was an exercise of due diligence and the intentional decision to not act on the plan.
- But far too often we plan and plan and plan and never act, then the window of opportunity closes or we just never do anything. That is a BIGGER failure than trying and failing, but it’s quieter so we only realize it on the inside and it eats at us. This is regret, and the worst kind because we knew better.
What is effective execution and can it help us avoid regret?
- Effective execution is the action piece of intentional action. The strategy helps us be intentional; the execution makes it happen.
- If your strategy is solid, all you really need to do is act on it. Follow the plan and it will take you in the right direction.
- Remember there are no perfect plans, so you’ll adjust a bit along the way and you’ll learn a lot as well.
- The effectiveness of your execution will be driven by two key factors:
- How accurate are your planning assumptions?
- How accurate is your execution to the plan?
- Having a great plan is worthless if you don’t follow it. There will always be assumptions, but you do your best and generally, you’ll be closer to your target at the end of execution than you were at the beginning of planning.
How do we execute our strategy effectively?
- First, the plan must be documented so it can be tracked.
- If it’s in your head only, it’s good feelings–not a real plan.
- If you’re acting alone, you need to track to it.
- If you have a team, the team needs to track to it.
- The action plan out of the SSP is ideally for 90 days. Use the dates to break it into weekly chunks. Know what is going on week by week, act on it, and you’ll end up at the end you set out to hit 90 days later. Do that enough and you can hit targets far in the future.
- Putting actions on your calendar is huge. Don’t be surprised at the end of the week when you remember all the things you were going to do.
- Pick a time to do a weekly review and plan of the week. James does Monday mornings. Review the calendar of events, the actions on the plan, and put them on the calendar when possible. Then go!
- Commit to having a written plan of attack based on your overall strategy.
- Commit to a weekly review where you track progress and plan the week ahead.
- Lead by example–whether by yourself or for your team. This breeds accountability.