Why is Execution hard

Everyone knows that culture eats strategy for lunch, but whats the one thing that ultimately tanks your strategy ? Execution !  Or dare i say the lack of execution.

Literally hundreds of books are written on the subject, but i’ve found in my own management experiment it boils down several things ;

Firstly , execution is not sexy ! it doesn’t do press briefings, it doesn’t have pr statements, quite frankly its the dirty work. Its waking up everyday to face the exact same set of circumstances despite your best efforts. Its daily staring at failure in the face, and picking yourself up to come back and fail again. Its grunt work, sometimes its just pressing on through the drudgery of mundane tasks likes email, and writing reports, and updating schedules.

Secondly, it sits in that valley of hard work, and waiting. When you have given your all, and yielded zero results, but having to wait for actions of others upstream, or downstream or vertically or horizontally because no good thing is executed in isolation. Waiting has its virtues, but its also one of the hardest things to do, sometimes your timing is just not in sync with the reality of your market, and despite your best efforts no amount of pushing, sweating , pleading or screaming will move the needle.

Thirdly, its also about conversations. Those simple dialogues and interactions that need to happen between partners and colleagues. The most damaging thing about not  having the right frame of communication within a team is what is left unsaid. When someone makes a statement that is not clear to you, but adds, “you know what i mean ?” and you nod along when you have absolutely no idea what they are on about. That right there is the number one killer of execution!

Communication is not just about passing on your message, its also about hearing. Both parties have an obligation to ensure not only is the one heard, but the other is understood.  What is left unspoken, is often the very thing that can move you from point A to  point B. Often we are so enamored with sounding clever and knowledgeable that we loose ourselves making pretty empty statements, that don’t yield a response from our audience.

Lastly, and perhaps the most critical thing, is decisions !decisions! decisions! We are always afraid to make the wrong one, but often its the ones we don’t make that really hold us back. It could be a fear of failure, procrastination, whatever makes you sleep better at night, but it all boils down to this, every decision you make takes you one step closer to achieving your goal. Even the wrong ones, because ultimately they help you identify the right decision to make. Take the risk ! but by all means don’t waver between the hot and cold valley of indecision.

There you have it, my ultimate list for closing out 2018 with a bang, its not sexy, it wont kill you to wait, talk to each other, and make one decision today that takes you closer to your desired tomorrow.


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