Where Leaders Come to Think

Executing in Business and in Life


2011 has been a hard year for many organizations. What I mean is that operating a thriving company in the worst economic recession since the great depression is a challenging proposition. What is required to survive is an almost instinctual ability to execute plans and deploy resources rapidly across many service/product lines. Imagine my surprise as I, in the heat of business battle, received the revelation that one of our team’s weaknesses may be in the execution of our plans.

One leader told me, “My problem with execution lies in situations where there is not a definitive plan in place for a situation.”

I have found that as the leader goes, so goes the team.

I serve a team of exceptional leaders and understand if we have a problem with executing strategy it is worth an investigation. This investigation led me to the 3 Elements of Executing Strategy in Business and in Life.

3 Elements of Executing Strategy in Business and in Life.

The starting line is not the beginning point. Execution takes a lot of preparation. Great runners don’t just show up on race day and expect to compete. Great athletes spend hundreds of hours training to earn the right to run. Every one willing to compete understands that they must count the cost.

If we want to lead the kinds of teams who execute Big Dreams we must prepare, do our homework and ready ourselves for the starting line.

Executing is NOT easy. The real truth behind business and life execution is it’s scary, hard, vulnerable, and communal. Executing is not easy because every opportunity comes with a cost.

  • Executing is scary. The sprinter always feels the most pressure while tightly bound in the starting blocks. It’s that way anytime we begin to execute. Not until 50 meters into a 100 meter race do we find the tension giving way to the routine of a new pace.
  • Executing is hard. Many times it’s a trip into the unknown. Great leaders understand that it may seem simple to move a team from here to there but it is not, in fact, it’s very challenging.
  • Execution is vulnerable. In order to execute, people are called to take a risk. There is a likelihood that the strategy will have a flaw. The best teams take this into consideration, minimize this cost and allow themselves to be vulnerable for the sake of the team.
  • Execution is communal. Proper execution takes a team effort – even for an individual to run the race. For a runner, there are coaches, sponsors and supporters. All along the way we must realize that to execute in the things that matter it takes a team. A team that is willing to stand and fall together for the sake of a worthy cause.

Begin with and End in Mind. This is why creating a vision worth living for is so desperately important when it comes to execution. You can run a race but if you do not know the distance you can quickly find yourself struggling in the dust of failure.

Beginning with the end in mind helps us to see the whole picture and face challenges before they overcome our efforts.

Understanding the reason for a clearly stated vision seems like common sense. However, there is much to distract us along the road to business and life success.  The best leaders have always found ways to overcome adversity while keeping a laser-like focus on the tasks at hand.  Our job, as leaders, then becomes critical.  We are called to defy the odds and prepare well enough that when it’s our turn to execute strategies we can blast out of the blocks and fall forward into a winning pace.

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