Looking For Better Results, So Execute

Looking For Better Results, So Execute

As we meet with executives throughout the country, many are evaluating what 2010 was like. They are asking: What were our results and how do we improve upon them in 2011?

Disciplines like innovation, leadership development and strategy come up in these discussions. These terms are sexier and executives like to talk about them more frequently, but the area that doesn’t always get a lot of discussion is what it actually takes to produce results.

This is where execution comes into play. Without proper execution, results won’t just happen. You need great strategy, leadership and innovation but you need execution, as well. Once you have your goals and strategy mapped out you need to have a method to track results. The goals and objectives need to be quantifiable so you can judge where you are. Here’s my advice:

Most companies will say we want to have the best year in terms of new sales in 2011. So, what? What does that really mean? You need to say we need sales to be up by 20% by this time in this area. Now you can track that to see how well you are executing.
Consistency is vital throughout this process. Week in and week out and month in and month out, you have to check what’s going on. If you don’t check back you can’t wonder why you didn’t reach results you were looking for.

The other thing that doesn’t get much attention is accountability. Did the sales team make their quota? If not, why weren’t we able to hit those goals. Once you get brutally honest and real, often people just didn’t produce. If that’s the case that person needs to be held accountable.

Make no mistake, you should always give people the benefit of the doubt, but to execute you have to have accountability. In fact, I was reading a book on this very topic called “Flawless Execution” by James Murphy. The book is written from the perspective of fighter pilots. What they do is make connections to the battle vs. how competitive business is today. If you’re a fighter pilot and you don’t execute, things can be catastrophic.

The book illustrates a framework and goes through a process for people to consistently execute. What is that process? You have to plan, brief about what you want to accomplish, execute that plan. And debrief about what went well and what we need to improve on to have better results next time.

It seems simple, but I think a lot of companies forget to debrief. That’s too critical a component to forget. If you aren’t continually looking at yourself, your strategy, your performance, etc., who will? The answer is nobody. So, pay attention and execute.