9 Keys to Leadership Breakthroughs and Execution Excellence

Harvard Business School research shows that
90% of strategies fail due to poor execution…

Begin with a simple premise: if programs and strategies fail due to poor execution, the bigger question is “why” do we suffer poor execution? The simple answer: people do what they know how to do and what they are required to do, not necessarily what they should do.

If you want Execution Excellence beyond your current levels, begin by assuming that your people don’t know What, Why or How to execute any better than they do. Then;

  1. Define your Vision. A clear picture of WHAT you want the future to look like. Down the road, this may include a detailed Brand review, assessing what your customer really wants, and what you are capable of being now or in your Future-scape. A clear Vision and Purpose is vital to strategic execution.
  2. Know the End Game Objectives. This is a 1, 3 and 5 year recognition of WHY your Vision is what it is and what your end-game objectives and purpose is.
  3. Determine your Obstacles. Define the conditions, people, practices and belief systems in the way of your Vision Realization. Know your SWOT that are the obstacles to your Execution Excellence. This is the HOW? (Understand that the leader’s role is to create an environment for execution, that most people do not know how to affect change. They know how to do what they are or have been doing. Execution Excellence demands specificity, directed leadership, clear expectations and work plans.
  4. Redefine your Standards. Standards are the level of quality, behaviors, practices and conditions you require every day to lead you to your Vision destination. Standards must be clearly defined, effectively and consistently communicated and relentlessly managed to if your Vision is ever to be realized.
  5. Relentlessly Communicate. To really “connect”, communicate verbally, in writing, graphically and consistently. Email, texts and bulletins augment communication, but must not be mistaken for communication. Communication is an exchange best accomplished face-to-face and person-to-person. Effective leadership connection occurs when leaders communicate is ways the receiver understands, consumes and can demonstrate. The burden of communication is 2-way, but it begins with the “communicator”.
  6. Align & Collaborate. Leaders often feel like they are out on the limb all by themselves. Great leaders and execution excellence demands aligning, collaborating and partnering with every key partner up and down the organization for individual and shared accountability.
  7. MONITOR, MEASURE, REPORT & ADJUST. Best to use scorecard reports to consistently
    share progress and short-falls.
  8. Adjust. Be Flexible. Periodically plan to adjust methods, standards and work plans to move closer to your Vision Realization. Plans seldom produce as leaders imagine. Maintain your goals and objectives, but be flexible to adjust to cause the result when initial strategies and tactics don’t yield.
  9. Don’t be Patient. Push. Make a plan, work your plan, know how long each element should take and do it. Be realistic, not patient.
    In the end, real leaders know that telling is not leading. Execution Excellence is caused by Leaders who take responsibility for the future… and teach, train, coach and lead their teams to Execution Excellence.

To lead to execution excellence leaders must have 3 things: (1) A Clear Vision and Purpose, (2) Productive Standards, and (3) A Relentless Determination to be Better every day.