Fulfilling a vision – that is the essence of execution and what makes companies achieve outstanding results. Leaders create the vision itself and pursue fulfillment of that vision through execution. A company with the most solid of strategies, but lacking follow-through in the execution will fail to achieve its goals. A leader’s job is to create a culture of execution which requires relentless effort to achieve the desired results. Once those results are achieved, a new vision is conceived and execution begins again. But equally as important as solid execution, is continuous performance measurement and strategy adjustment. If there is no measurement, then signs of change are missed, corrective adjustments to the strategy aren’t made and the strategy fails to thrive. Strategy and execution are both interdependent and dynamic – and both require continuous measurement and adjustment. The hallmark of successful companies is their ability to form triumphant strategies and engage in active measurement and adjustment throughout execution.
Within successful execution are key underpinnings.
- Focus with Eyes Wide Open
Leaders are focused on what is to be accomplished while also keeping watch of the periphery for new information, hindrances or obstacles. With a logical set of connected activities, including goals, timelines and next steps, leaders focus on the results of the activities while keeping watch for any changes that may derail the execution of the strategy.
- Utilize Resources Effectively
People, with their time, energy and talent, are requisite resources. Leaders accomplish set forth activities through others by clearly defining roles and responsibilities that are in alignment with peoples’ talents. Leaders hire the right people and nurture them – even push them – beyond their current levels, making them highly productive people, and into leaders themselves.
- Measurement and Adjustment
Execution is ongoing and requires continuous measurement of progress. Each step of the way, leaders should effectively and impartially measure progress through evaluation of key metrics, and eradicate inefficiencies and improve efficiencies. Along the way, obstacles are often encountered which must be faced. When (not if) these challenges arise – be it changing market conditions, enactment of new regulations, ground-breaking research, disasters, employee conflicts or a host of other unwanted and unforeseen issues – leaders make difficult decisions amidst these challenges, rethink their strategies, adjust their plans, and keep pressing onward, all while shouldering any consequences. For those who are resistant to measurement and adjustment, or who are not agile in changing course, failure looms.
- Pursue Relentlessly
Maintaining the steady course of execution requires discipline and is accomplished by tenacious and intentional re-visitation of the focus, utilization, measurement and adjustment. Again and again. Until the vision is fulfilled – and a new vision is created and the cycle initiates again.
It is one thing to create a vision – almost anyone can conceive a vision. Fulfilling that vision is a totally different task – one that is not for the faint of heart. In the end, it is a true leader who fulfills a vision, time after time, through focus, discipline, measurement, adjustment and relentless pursuit.