June 7, 2024

Without Execution, Vision Is Just a Big Idea

Leaders in business are often referred to as ‘visionaries’, and some do fall into that category following a career of growing and evolving an organization. It is important to recognize that vision is one quality that separates a leader from a manager.

Often managers are considered to do things right where good leaders tend to do the right thing.

There’s often more to leading a successful enterprise than just having vision. What some leaders may lack—and what effective leaders usually have—is the ability to execute.

Without execution, momentum slows, and the objectives or goals are not achieved.

A plan is a good start, but then you need action items to achieve desired results. The best people in an organization will fail if not given direction and a path toward success. The best operation will falter if there is not a good process for “getting things done”.

Lack of execution causes disappointment and can affect a positive culture. Culture is critical—one of the most important aspects leaders need to create, nurture and develop. Execution is crucial in a successful business.

Execution demands a sincere interest and desire from members of the team. One of the leader’s responsibilities is to create conditions for their own growth and right environment for others to succeed.

Creating the conditions is the hard part. Conditions are strategic and are born from the leader. The direction and support must come from the top. Execution involves the winning strategy, structure, systems and style. The leader must own this job.

Leaders need to utilize creative strategies to solve issues efficiently and effectively, be open to change and innovation, focus on results driven outcomes and collaborate effectively with their teams and always support them. Leaders should listen generously to ensure we are successfully executing and meeting the needs of the team (and clients).

Execution must be ingrained in the way a company operates as a discipline to achieve results. Execution closes gaps; the practice raises standards.

Great execution with a good plan can achieve results.

Great planning with poor execution will fall short.

So, the simple question about execution is: How do you do it? The answer begins by challenging yourself to break down execution into three important steps—addressing Who, Where and How.

1. Who in your organization will execute the process or strategy?

2. Where do you want to go as an organization — what’s the strategy?

3. How will you get there; what operational processes are necessary to achieve the goal?

It requires some self-reflection, analysis of the business operations and occasionally adjusting what is done. The quality of the execution is keeping people accountable, motivated and rewarded.

Execution takes practice. We’ll mess it up before we get it right. Poor execution will cost us talent and a competitive edge. But by tuning in to our business process — how we get things done—and really digging in to analyze whether execution is effective in our organizations, we can address weaknesses and improve.

After all, life and business are about constant improvement — reflection, analysis, strategy and the hard work of getting it done.

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