After a Business Owner or Executive has a strategy set, it is now time to execute on that strategy. There are some who regard the execution of a strategic plan as tactical, something to be delegated while they focus on “The Big Picture”. This thinking can be the kiss of death for a leader. While specific actions can and must be delegated, it is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that the systems of execution are built into the plan and the discipline of execution is built into the culture. In such a company, strategies are not rigid. Rather, they act as road maps that can be adjusted to the changing realities of the marketplace. For this reason, a business whose leader is actively engaged in the execution phase can quickly adapt to the unexpected.
What are the areas of behavior that effective execution leaders have?
- Get Involved
Effective leaders do not micromanage their business, rather they make every effort to stay in touch with day to day realities. Leaders do this by reports, listening to employees, Ask tough questions and Observation.
2. Be Ruthlessly Realistic
Leaders not only need to be on top of internal, current operations, they need to ask them selves the question: “How are we doing relative to our competition”? If you are 20% ahead of last year and exceeding budget by 5% you might feel good. What if your competitors are growing at 40% and grabbing market share during the same period of time. How do you feel now? Do not be blinded by glossy financials regarding internal comparisons only.
3. Narrow your Focus
In any business, large, medium or small there exists a competition for resources. Be these People, Technology, Capital, and so on. The leader’s job is to establish a small number of goals and priorities that have the strongest, most powerful impact on the performance of the business and then ensure these are clearly understood by everyone executing the strategic plan.
4. Follow up
By continually monitoring results according to benchmarks, Key Performance indicators that have been agreed too in advance, the leader is sending a clear message that he expects and demands effective execution.
5. Hold People Accountable
Leadership requires leverage. The ability to get others to do what they agreed to and HOLD them accountable to it is critical for success. Too many Business Owners when faced with issues in someone’s execution goes back to doing it themselves. The Owner justifies this with: “this s a very important customer”. or “I do not have time to deal with this and I can do it right at this time”. These are very dangerous and short term actions that kill the Owner’s leadership and ability to develop others.
6. Coach your People
Following on from accountability it now time to don the Coach’s hat for your team. The principle of multiplication along with principle of Leverage along with you Coaching your team will drive effective delivery. It is a bit corny to say “It takes a village” but strong execution takes more than ONE. So while employing the six above behaviors do drive Coaching to develop your team.
7. Know Yourself
It very important as a leader you know your strengths, accept your weakness and by open to use your strengths more before you work on improving your weakness. Leaders do NOT try to mask these but outward show, address and deal with who you are.
Do not get caught up in the ivory tower Strategic area only as a leader. Ensure you are driving execution of your Strategic plan and utilize the seven behaviors to assist you. For more and deeper information on this feel free to reach out at:
Mark R. Steinke
Elite Business Coach