Execution—The Key to Success, No Matter What Field You Play On

After a season that many have agreed was one of the most unpredictable in NFL history, the Super Bowl is finally here.  And instead of the Cowboys/Patriots matchup all the talking heads were predicting in September, it’s the Cardinals and Steelers.

Not that I care.  Since my Packers didn’t even make it into the post season, I’m mostly in it for the commercials.

But no matter who’s playing, I’m always blown away when I think about what it takes to get to the Big Game—years of training, thousands of individual decisions and commitments, and the determination to execute like mad on each play.

No matter what your game is, execution is the key to success.  CEO Advisor, LLC asked 500 CEOs to identify their company’s single greatest competitive advantage. An amazing 88 percent said they executed better than their competitors.

Yet a Harris Interactive survey found that only 22 percent of workers are focused on organizational goals and only 23 percent precisely understand their organizations strategy and goals.  Only 10 percent have clear, measurable, deadline-driven work goals.  A paltry 8 percent systematically schedule their priorities.  Just 14 percent of the average work groups’ time is focused on its top goals. And just over half of an individual worker’s time is spent actually working on key goals.

These stats are SCARY!

Let’s think in terms of football. If these same numbers were applied to your favorite team this Sunday:

  • Only two players would know what the next play was.
  • Only two players would be focused on executing that play.
  • Only one player would know his specific assignment during the play.
  • Only one player would be totally committed to the play.
  • Only two players would meet their commitments on the play.

Everyone must be in strategic alignment with the company and one another. To achieve that alignment, each person should be held accountable for results. This ensures all team members are doing the RIGHT things and bringing projects to closure.

My bet is that every player on both sides of the field Sunday will hold himself accountable for the results of each play.  I doubt the teams would have made it to the Super Bowl without that shared mindset.

Execution isn’t a pipe dream—it’s the result of an organization committed to achieving breakthroughs. It’s an organization that throws its heart over the bar daily. It’s an organization that plays full-on.

So if you’re joining me on Sunday in front of the tube with a cold brew and a bowl of party mix, take a minute to think about execution.

And hey, for once in your life, please don’t pick out all the M&Ms.

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