By James Sun, Special for USDR
You’ve got bright ideas and smart people, and you put in a great plan. But why hasn’t your business taken off as you predicted? You set goals, you have mentors, and you read and study. But why is it that you still haven’t achieved your personal, financial or career success? Maybe the problem is in your execution. What spells the difference between successes and failures is the ability to execute.
Nine Steps to Drive Execution in your business
It Starts with the Leader in You
The world is changing, and as a leader you have to master change and multi-tasking. You need to stay nimble and able to pivot strategically as market conditions change weekly. As a leader, you are a visionary and need to learn to sell and communicate effectively. You have to learn to sell to your employees, investors and customers. With so much competition, you have to clearly differentiate your value and be unique. You have to have a unique approach to your market, your product and your team. If you’re not unique, it will be difficult for someone to buy from you.
2. Building the Framework for Cultural Change
Instituting change in any organization requires process. You can’t just institute changes for the sake of shaking things up at your company. Your changes must be geared towards getting results. Be specific: what sort of behavior is acceptable in your company? What’s unacceptable? Change must begin at the top-level to set an example down the line. Don’t just expect it to happen either. You must reward successful implementation of your plans to instigate change.
3. The Right People in the Right Jobs
Hiring the right people is as important as planning ahead. You need people who are not only capable but also full of potential for growth as your business expands. Take time to focus on your staff, because in effect your business is in their hands. Take time to develop your staff’s leadership capabilities so that they can bring results to your plans and visions. Assess individual capabilities and determine if you can further develop your employee through training, coaching and exposure.
4. Linking People to Strategy and Operations
Your strategy is only as good as the operations. Break down your strategy into manageable short-, medium- and long-term goals. Determine the kinds of skills you need to meet upcoming goals, and start laying the foundation early. Then design an action plan for each step of your big plan.
5. Developing the Leadership Pipeline
Meeting your goals depends on the quality of the people you have. The investment into your next generation of leaders is critical at every level. Assess today those who can be leaders in the future.
6. Dealing with Non-performers, Including Yourself
Be slow to hire, quick to fire. We all have dead weight in our companies and in ourselves. Non-performers are people who aren’t meeting their established goals. This does not mean that they are unqualified or incapable. It just means they are not performing at the level required for your company’s success. Sometimes you just need to coach a person to get them better acquainted with a job. Sometimes they need to be transferred to another division or given responsibilities better suited to their capabilities. Other times there is no choice but to let them go.
7. The Importance of “How” instead of “What”
Too often we only ask, “What should we build?” instead of asking, “How are we going to build it?” Some of the most brilliant strategies are bound to fail if not grounded in reality –regarding the competition, the capabilities of the company’s own people or the market and the product offerings. When creating strategies, consider not only the current realities of all relevant factors, but also anticipate unexpected — if unlikely — turns of events. Adaptability to change should always be a consideration. Constantly review your plan to ensure it is executed properly.
8. Building the Operating Plan
Learn how to build a true operating plan. Set the targets and keep them realistic. Base them on assumptions of real track records and histories. Develop action and contingency plans. Study the possible outcomes that might leave the company most vulnerable, and base your contingency plan on that. Communicate agreed-upon goals to the people involved to reiterate your expectations and what they promised to deliver.
9. Constant Measurement of the Outcomes in the Operations Process
Agility will be your greatest strength in continually assessing your outcomes. Create a culture of 360-degree feedback on a daily basis. Train your mind and people to measure and quantify results, and then make incremental changes that ultimately lead to the best long-term improvements. Watch the numbers, and stay focused on every variable.