March 20, 2010
The anchor of any execution plan is your organization’s strategy; it informs and drives every tactic and activity that people are engaged in. I see too many organizations executing a number of tactics with no strategic plan or context to give them meaning.
So, before describing what ‘good’ execution looks like, make sure you have a strategy to lean on. If not, go back to square one and create one. In addition, when creating your strategy, spend significant time on thinking through implementation. Avoid the trap of spending 80% of your time on the essence of your strategy and 20% on execution. Reverse your focus and spend 80% of your time on executional planning.
The A, B, C’s of BE DiFFERENT Execution:
A. Get your strategy in focus. In addition to simply having a strategy as mentioned above, your strategy needs to be specific and clear to drive the specific top priority executional elements throughout your organization. Aspirations will kill implementation. A vague strategy results in a diffusion of executional energy and lack of results. The BE DiFFERENT Strategic Game Plan will serve the purpose very well. Use it.
B. Define the top three things that will drive 80% of your Strategic Game Plan. An intimate understanding of your strategy is required. Its not a matter of having a relevant Action Plan list of twenty things to work on. You need to purge the relevant but less compelling actions; focus on the critical few only.
C. Get every function - marketing, sales service, operations etc. - in the organization to determine the critical three things THEY must do to achieve the top 3 organizational priorities. Make this task non-negotiable. If every department in your organization doesn’t have direct line of sight to your overall strategy, people will tend to march to their own drummer and effective execution doesn’t happen.
D. Take point ‘C’ further and build departmental priorities into everyone’s Personal Performance and Compensation Plan. Make it real tough for any individual in the organization to deviate from the strategic imperatives of the firm. Pay people ONLY when they further the Strategic Game Plan. This motivation will create behavioral synergy and progress.
E. Cut the Crap. Eliminate non-strategic tactics and activity and make room for the things that need to be executed in the Strategic Game Plan. Execution around the new strategy gets impaired when people continue to do the old comfortable stuff. Assign a Cut the Crap champion to make this happen.
F. Pan on the Run. Learn from how you are implementing your strategy and tweak your execution plan as you go. Execute > Learn > Adjust > Execute >....
Creating your Strategy doesn’t have to be Painful
Antipate well; React Brilliantly!
Be Anal about Execution
Roy’s Rule of Three
Plan on the Run
Cut the Crap
Line of Sight Execution
Avoid Aspirational Intent