Execution is one of my personal favorite topics in business because it is what separates my type of personality from many other would-be competitors. From a very young age I have been the type to get things done. I don’t want to talk about doing something, I want to DO it. In business I am at my most frustrated, believe it or not, in the creation process (although I do still enjoy it) because “can I execute this?” keeps ringing in the back of my mind.
The great part though about being an “executor” is that many smarter and more qualified competitors fall to the wayside. Having a great idea and creating and executing that idea are two entirely different things. Those that take their dream and passion and turn it into reality are the people you read about. You don’t read about the guy who is so smart and has so many good ideas but never acts on them. Although to play the other side of the fence for just a moment, I think the “entrepreneurial seizure”, as Michael Gerber refers to it, is very dangerous for those who aren’t prepared for the long struggle ahead.
The best book, in my opinion, on the subject is: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. In this book Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan define execution as the systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, questioning, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.
The execution stage is the disconnect in so many business’s strategies. The perfect marketing strategy or the best employee training program is nothing if it is not implemented! So much is written on how to develop the best strategy but there is not enough on how to actually take that strategy from concept to a working implementable process.
The execution process starts with people, strategy and operations. These three areas require the discipline of execution so much so that a lack of execution in any of the three will lead to failure for the business as a whole.
The way to put theory into action boils down to two simple things: set obtainable goals, and set up accountability to ensure they are acted upon in a timely matter. The system of execution starts with these fundamental issues. Some individuals have that extra something inside of them to just create reality, and some don’t, but with a system in place it turns everybody into execution experts!
I’ll take a doer over a dreamer in a head to head match up any-day, but having a dream and passion is crucial to keep the execution process purposeful.