Execution – Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done – Clarity of Purpose and ActionExecution Getting Things Done

Execution is the art and method of getting things done. It is more than activity and motion. It is doing the right things at the right time. It is about using the limited resources to get the maximum results. Execution requires a clear understanding of what needs to be done to accomplish a goal, to generate a result, to move the organization ahead.

For businesses to succeed they need to have a system to get things done. This system includes the operations, the mechanics of how business is done. The system includes planning, strategy, action, monitoring results, and adjusting activities based on feedback. Execution takes the steps the people, the process and the strategy allocates and aligns the resources to achieve goals.

The Ability to Get Things Done and Make Things Happen

Many businesses fail because they aren’t built to execute. They do not have a culture of action, nor systems and processes that encourage making decisions and getting things done.
A few years ago, I was working with a client when I realized that not everyone was created to take action. Every week this client and I would meet and create a list of tasks needed to be completed during the week to get her business set up and bringing in customers. Every week something would have “interfered” with her ability to make progress. After a month, we sat down and analyzed things to see what was holding her back. Was she afraid of the process? Was she uncertain about owning a business? Did she lack confidence in her skills and abilities? Was she unclear about the tasks assigned and what needed to get done? Was she procrastinating?

Listen to the Customer

She assured me the answer was the same to all questions: “No.” She really wanted to make this business happen. When we worked together in our sessions, we made great progress. When she worked alone, nothing got done. So I asked her to take a series of personality and other tests to identify learning and communication styles, etc.

When we examined her results, we realized that she had to work with someone to get things done. She wasn’t wired to execute on her own. In fact, on one test that examined administrative and execution traits, her lowest score was the ability to get things done. The solution was to bring in someone on her team that could be a peer and had complementary skills to hers. She was long on relationships and short on execution. She needed someone who would balance her out with the ability to focus on results and getting things done. Problem solved.

Building A Diverse Team

What does this mean for your business? You need to build a team of diverse skills, abilities and look for team members that have complementary strengths. If you have a team of idea people who don’t have the ability to make sure things happen, then your business will be unable to succeed. Have people that aren’t strong on relationship building and you may see lower retention rates. Have a team that requires direction and being told what to do and when you will spend your time managing them and not time building the business.

Execution — Getting Things Done with the Right People in the Right Roles

Execution requires knowing what things have to happen and when. Successful businesses have the ability to see the big picture (strategy) and understand the actions (tactics) that have to be taken to paint that picture. Execution is setting goals (targets), creating systems and processes to support those goals, establishing a team capable of performance, and enabling them to take action.

Lea Talks About Balancing the Short and Long Term and Taking a Proactive versus Reactive Approach

Listen to Lea Talk about Execution

Articles and Podcasts

  • Ethical Integrity: When Keeping Your Word Clashes with Sticking to Your Values (9/28/2016) by Lea Strickland - Traditionally men (or women) were measured by their word—if you gave your word, then it was as good as a contract.  In fact, it was a verbal contract. They had the ethical integrity to be bound by their word. When someone failed to keep their word or break promises, his or her reputation was damaged. Also, a lack of trustworthiness meant that people didn’t do business with them. Prominent People Lacking Ethical Integrity? In recent weeks, there have been news stories of prominent people not keeping their word. Some of these people have given justifications for breaking trust. The justifications ...
  • Haste Makes Waste: Do It Right the First Time (9/21/2016) by Lea Strickland - Haste makes waste is a common saying. Another common saying is time is money. Time, like money, is always in short supply in organizations. Every moment is precious, so the question is: “If you don’t have time to spare, how do you have time to fix a problem when you did not have time to do things right the first time?” Now, I recognize that every person and business will drop the ball at some point. It is simply human nature that sometimes we will lose track of a commitment, have an accident, or Murphy’s Law will come into play. ...
  • Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road (9/14/2016) by Lea Strickland - Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success of organizations is impacted by their leaders’ perspectives on events, opportunities, results, and the future. Leaders tend to locate their businesses one of three categories: Optismist Overlook, Pessimist Place, or Realist Road. Welcome to Optimist Overlook When you visit Optimist Overlook, the business may reside at the corner of WishfulThinking and Hope Is My ...
  • Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success (9/7/2016) by Lea Strickland - Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on the near term of the current year or at best the year to come. In the past month, I have met with non-profits and for-profits who have yet to even think about a budget for next year, let alone a five-year plan for their organizations. When pressed for revenue and ...
  • Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance (8/31/2016) by Lea Strickland - How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be sustainable each person must choose to change. I spent decades in major corporations that were constantly implementing "change initiatives." Some even had change programs that included rewards and incentives to get the change accepted. In one organization one of my responsibilities became managing a change program for the division I was in. This ...
  • Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight (8/24/2016) by Lea Strickland - Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your business, you can’t afford not to do business by the numbers. Financial oversight cannot be fully delegated to employees or co-owners. You have to be in the numbers to monitor results. Unfortunately, for many small business owners, technology creators, and other innovators, the simple fact is that too few are trained on the ins and outs of the financial side of ...
  • Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned (8/17/2016) by Lea Strickland - Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part of the organization whose priorities were presentations (pretty ones) into the department I worked for he was coming into a working group that on a daily basis created transactions that enabled the business to produce products. In my case, I had double duty working with two different groups as their support ...
  • Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass? (6/14/2016) by Lea Strickland - One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had used a smaller glass, then she wouldn’t be thinking is the glass half full or empty. It would be full. This difference in how we look at things makes an important point for businesses when it comes to capacity, staffing, and all the elements of being in business. Perhaps ...
  • Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility (5/26/2016) by Lea Strickland - Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to commit to full-time, permanent employees. While competing means responding to customer demand, it also means not committing too early (or permanently) to resources you only need for a short time. Scaling Up Your Business To grow the business you must find the balance between putting in place the resources needed to grow and the cost of those resources. Move too early or too ...
  • 10 Elements of Successful Businesses (5/3/2016) by Lea Strickland - While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is more than the idea for a product or service or technology. It includes and understanding that there is a market need and opportunity that seems to have the potential for profit. In the initial stage of defining your business concept you may not know the true market potential, but you have identified through observation, trends, or personal experience ...
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