In the pursuit of success, having a well-crafted strategic plan and investing in leadership development are crucial initial steps. However, it is in the “execution phase” that the true test lies. I see this all the time in my coaching and consulting practice. You have a good plan in place, you have the leadership skills and behaviors to execute the plan, but your execution is lacking due to one or many factors. However, there are things you can do to ensure you deliver your plan. I’ve identified below some challenges that can slow or halt your execution and ways to overcome them.
Challenges and Solutions to Enable Execution
- You Don’t Know Where to Start: As the saying goes you eat an elephant one bit at a time. The same is true for your strategic plan. The best way to accomplish your strategic plan is to break it down into smaller goals, priorities, and tasks, and be clear about roles and responsibilities so you know who is responsible for what and by when. And then, get started, learn as you go and adjust accordingly.
- Lack of Planning Your Time to Focus on Your Priorities: You know what your priorities are, now you need to plan your day and block off time to work on your priorities. It’s critical to put it on your calendar first before anything else so you have uninterrupted time set aside to work on what matters most. If you don’t, you will fill up your day with non-essential tasks and fall short of your goals.
- Lack of Focus: You will be challenged every day with new ideas and possibilities, but you must remain focused on your priorities. It’s very tempting to work on new and exciting things as they arise, but if it doesn’t help you achieve your goals then you need to avoid the temptation and stay focused on what matters most. When something or someone is challenging your ability to focus, go back to your Strategic Plan and challenge yourself and others on whether it supports your strategic plan. If it doesn’t then you shouldn’t work on it. Of course, sometimes things change so if change is required then you will need to be open to doing so.
- Resistance to Change: When completing your strategic plan everything sounded great and you were willing to make it happen. However, now it’s time for execution and it’s requiring you to think differently and do things you may not be comfortable doing. That’s OK, it happens to all of us. Get out there and try. You will become more and more comfortable as time passes, so take baby steps and learn as you go. That said, if you’re having trouble overcoming whatever challenges you have, seek out help. That could be in the form of a coach to help break down barriers. Or maybe you need some additional eduction. Or perhaps there’s someone else in your organization that can take over and get what’s required done. Or maybe you can find an outside resource to help you. Regardless, it’s better to find someone who can take action than to not get it done.
- Lack of Accountability and Alignment: Execution thrives in a culture of accountability. As a result, put systems and processes in place to drive accountability. An example would be to have daily or weekly team meetings to review progress and discuss obstacles so you can address them quickly. These systems and processes are essential for effective communication among your team and encourages continuous alignment.
- Striving for Perfection: Don’t let perfection become the enemy of the good. Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement throughout the execution process. And don’t wait to get one thing done before you do another if it isn’t necessary, aka procrastination. Regularly assess progress, seek feedback, and be willing to make necessary adjustments. Recognize that execution is an evolving journey, and the ability to learn and adapt is a key driver of sustained success.
In the dynamic landscape of business, mastering execution is a constant challenge that requires commitment and focus. By addressing common challenges head-on and implementing practical strategies, business leaders can propel their organizations and themselves toward success. Remember, execution is not a destination but a journey, and with the right mindset, the success you seek is well within reach.
If you would like to review my overarching “Success Framework” which includes a strategic plan, leadership development and execution, please review my previous blog post at www.blaisplus.com.