▼Execution-Focused Leadership & 81 Project Management▼
MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS | SPECIAL EDITION | CLASS SEPM OPS
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The name of the game is impact. To make your/my project(s) work. To realize long-term goals. Not merely envision things, set, write and define goals only to allow inertia, lack of focus and ineffective execution to slowly smother them.
That's why Thomas A. Edison was right in pointing out that: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”
The headwinds and tailwinds that separate the competent from the incompetent, advanced from stagnant economies, and the talking shops from the prolific innovators boil down to two things, in my view: excellent strategic sense and project management acumen.
The latter is so important that a link to the definitive guide to being a good project manager has been placed at the end of this article.
Many can probably relate but at least 95% of my own failures — whether working with family, friends or in a business capacity — were a result of poor prioritization, coordination, collaboration, under-utilization of resources; time management, customer management, lack of tactful alignment with jugular aspirations (vision, urgent needs, goals meant to address valid anxieties), etc.
We often assume limited people or financial resources is to blame when more than likely, poor execution is the culprit. This is why I penned the blog: Before Worrying About Goals, Execution & Achievement, Evaluate & FIX The Mindset Within (You), As Well As Your Team's.
For one thing, action and self management (i.e., true self-discipline) is required. Except few ever mention “the whirlwind” or day job). All the “drama” and distraction screaming for your eyeballs; acting on you instead of the other way round. Plus, as below, most tend to confuse Planning and Operations with Strategy. The vision we're trying to act on.
Others miss the point altogether by assuming specializing in reciting a problem IS solving it. A reminder I often serve African forums I monitor via Twitter, where they're more laser focused on problems, dangling solutions only prompts moderate consideration ONLY when it comes from a well-known influencer.
It is all well to delineate strategic priorities — goals directly related to long-term sustainability and survivability — from key priorities that may liberate you from other noise, others' pressing demands and whirlwinds, upon successful completion.
You might even say, well I tried that. But arguably, it didn't work long-term.
Well, because the Personal Leadership* tools we bring to the biggest challenges facing us or the wildest goals and dreams we have, need to involve the key action principles of the 4 Rules of Execution (hyperlinked below). Which, by the way, begin with sustained focus. Something most people lack. But you're here reading this meaning you're a click or tap away from the source!And we lack it, because we keep forgetting that: “There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute.” For that reason:
Focus on WIG (Wildly Important Goals)
Abandon rigidity and be in a position to act on lead measures by first understanding the difference between lag measures and lead measures so as to 'move the needle' when it matters most. This comes from appreciating what is influencable and what is merely predictive. 4DX explains this in depth. See book below or download The Age of Leverage.
Maximum impact can be achieved through passion-driven performance enhanced by sustained commitment. See page 45.
After prioritizing and satisfactorily getting Disciplines 1-3 underway, a system and culture of shared accountability is the only thing that cements success and keeps the team or various key elements in place. Defining things, conducting endless or boring meetings alone won't do. See page 57.
And Ram Charan is right on the money: “70% of strategic failures are due to poor execution of leadership...rarely for lack of smarts or vision.”
Not only does research show that only 15% of employees actually know their organization’s most important goals but all too often, instead of leveraged activities, people and employees are busy acting busy (i.e., frenetic busyness). Hence, the “real execution challenge is not merely executing on a goal, [but rather] executing on a goal in the midst of the whirlwind!” And that's true for both organizations and individuals.
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