Untie Yourself from Planning and Make Things HAPPEN!

Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels

When most people think of Gulliver’s Travels, they picture the big guy tied to the ground by the tiny people of Lilliput.  Not a bad metaphor for modern life, eh?

But my favorite part of that story is the flying island of Laputa.  The Laputians are philosophers, wicked smart, but they spend all their time navel-gazing—thinking deep thoughts, making complex calculations—and never get around to doing anything.  (No surprise that their wives often leave the island and never come back.  Talk about SMART.)

I know an awful lot of business leaders who probably have Laputian passports, if you know what I mean.That’s not good.  Execution is everything.  Plan all you want, dream all you can, then turn that key or you’ve accomplished nothing.  Execution is what separates those who merely have lofty ideas from those who end up winning the game. It’s about taking strategies and making sure they are implemented with power.

If you generate ideas without a plan to execute them, you might as well be Gulliver tied to that beach in Lilliput.

Creating a culture of execution is a leadership issue. It combines creating a “no-excuses, get-it-done” culture with the systems, processes, and accountabilities that ensure things are done consistently and done well.

But it’s also more than a leadership issue.  People at every level in an organization can get bogged down in planning and strategizing without ever getting off the pot.

It’s easy to guess which things in a company are measured and audited:  It’s the things that people actually DO and do well.  If you want something done with fairly strong consistency, set measurable benchmarks.

The bad news—a.k.a. the OPPORTUNITY—is that the service, sales, and spirit components of business hardly ever receive any systemization, audits, compliance exams, measurement, or rewards—or repercussions for non-compliance.

If a standard is measured in the forest, and no on is there to audit it—does it make a difference?  Why should it?

Dropping the ball in this kind of follow-up is why most companies do a better job at operations than they do at culture, sales, and service.

Do you smell an opportunity for increasing management effectiveness?  I sure do!

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