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January 2006

Execution

Every year over the holiday vacation our family sits down to set goals. We set vacation goals, health goals and we even get our daughter, Carylyn, involved. Last year she set goals to learn how to ride a bicycle and win some swim team ribbons.

So, how about you? Do you set personal goals at the beginning of each year? Research suggests that you are in the minority, if you do. What percentage of those goals do you achieve? Did you know that 70% of the people who make their New Year's resolutions, break them within the first month!?!

The question is: Why? Were the goals too lofty? Were the strategies faulty? The answer is no.

The single biggest obstacle to success…in business and in life is “flawed execution”. When individuals, teams or organizations don't achieve their goals it's because they didn't seize and operationalize opportunities and didn't manage the obstacles that may have come along the way. According to a recent study by a company called OnPoint Consulting, 49% of business leaders report a gap between their company's strategic vision and its effectiveness at executing that vision.

Just what is the secret to effective execution? According to Larry Bossidy, author of the best-selling book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, it is a set of structures and processes that ensure that:

• Your strategies are linked to goals and tactics

• The right people are in the right positions on the team

• Team members are accountable for their team's performance

• “Doers” are rewarded

If you suspect your team isn't operating at its highest potential, you should examine its “execution quotient” and then, develop Action Plans to address the gaps. One team we worked with, which was struggling with their execution effectiveness, developed a clear plan for how to better prioritize their goals, laid out clear roadmaps for accountabilities and milestones, and improved team progress updates. They ended the year ahead of budget and successfully executed over 90% of their plans!

“Frequently, the difference between success and failure is the resolve to stick to your plan long enough to win.”

David Cottrell




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