Sunday, March 26, 2006

Curious about Execution - What Does It Mean to You and Do You Practice It?

A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I like to tell people that all of our products and business will go through three phases. There's vision, patience, and execution.” - Steve Ballmer

One truism that I hear over and over again is that there are multitudes of well meaning, wannabe-achievers reading all of the motivational books, attending knowledge filled seminars and conferences and even paying huge amounts of money to hire their own coaches. And then, they do nothing with all of the tips, techniques, strategies and insider secrets they have been exposed to.

In other words, there is no action - no execution! So nothing new happens. And nothing new is accomplished.

We have all been there - at least I have, and I am known to be an “action-oriented” person. We get a terrific idea, learn a new and better way to do something. Suddenly, we are so busy with another project that we have to put the new idea on the back burner. The all important idea is forgotten for now - and usually, forever.

What are some of the great ideas that you haven’t acted upon yet? About once every year, I go through my files, notes and journal entries, and there are some of the same ideas and goals that keep re-appearing because, as good as they are, I just never get to them. Why is that? We all need to examine what it is that is keeping us from execution of our ideas.

This past year I have been introduced through the Internet to several incredibly successful and knowledgeable women entrepreneurs. One who is a role model of mine is Melanie Strick. I have heard her interviewed on several teleseminars - she is impressive. She talks about the “bright shiny object syndrome.” Those of us with this syndrome are being constantly attracted to every bright shiny object that comes our way - the new ideas, the new strategies, those moments that rob us of our current focus and energy. Then, before we execute an outcome, a new bright shiny object pops up.

Is this happening to you?

Melanie said something to remember about how to manage our time. “Whenever you are asked to do something and say, ‘yes,’ you are saying ‘no’ to something else.”

I feel that William A. Foster was right on when he wrote, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

Some other helpful and interesting quotations about execution are:
  • An idea can be as flawless as can be, but its execution will always be full of mistakes.” - Brent Scowcroft
  • For the execution of the voyage to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps.” - Christopher Columbus
  • The essence of football was blocking, tackling, and execution based on timing, rhythm and deception.” - Knute Rockne
  • I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.” - Ulysses S. Grant
  • If an ad campaign is built around a weak idea - or as is so often the case, no idea at all - I don't give a damn how good the execution is, it's going to fail.” - Morris Hite

My suggestion to you is what I am doing to help me execute at least a new idea or strategy every week. I am focusing on that idea, saying ‘no’ to the new bright shiny objects, and then rewarding myself every time I finish an execution.

Do let me know how you are coming along, and we will all be winners!