Winning at Execution

post-it maniaDo goals and plans fail more due to strategy or execution? Execution is the primary reason why most plans fail. We are taught in school how to create strategy but most of the time devoted to reaching a goal is done in executing the plan, and we are not taught good methods of execution. If we want to make progress we need to focus on a good process for execution and establish it upfront with our team.

Here are a few ideas to help you with winning at execution and increase the percentage of time you reach your goals:

How Much Do We Owe Each Other?

Ask this question before ever starting to execute the plan. Meet with your team and ask this question. This will flush out the reasons why we want to strive for the goals we have set. When we discuss how much we owe each other we realize that we do owe each other a lot and this improves the teamwork. This creates a sense of one…a sense of “we.”

Create a Step by Step Plan.

This may seem obvious but many plans lack the detailed steps necessary to create success. Many plans are vague with missing steps. When steps are missing then team members are not sure what the next step is in the process and the work stops. Take the time to create the plans in painstaking detail. With this level of detail we have the ability to change and adjust because we are more confident in our plan.

Create the Right Key Performance Indicators.

Establishing the correct key performance indicators for the project are critical as they will measure our success and tell us whether we are making progress. This is the way to keep score along the way and help maintain the team’s enthusiasm for the project. If we have the available wall space, we can create a chart with the key performance indicators visible for all to see, and be reminded regularly of the progress we are making.

Follow-up Ruthlessly and Regularly.

This is probably the most important step in the process of execution. Often, we set up the project with very little follow-up to be sure it is on track. When we follow-up regularly, we create the expectation of team members that we are going to hit our goal because we are going to be following up with each other at regular intervals. This helps to build increasing momentum toward the goal.

Communicate to Everyone the Progress on Goal.

When we include team members as well as others in the communication process of our progress they become excited as well. Every time we communicate we are on target creates the expectation that we will continue to be on target to hit the goal. Each team member will want to do his or her part in reaching the goal. No one will want to disappoint a fellow team member if they have a sense of “we.” This begins with step one: Ask how much do we owe each other?

Execution is challenging but with the right process we can make it happen. The key is to establish a process for executing a goal, project or plan. What ideas do you have for ensuring successful execution?