I was walking through O’Hare yesterday (got lucky and beat a big snow storm out of town) and saw the ad pictured here. The ad got my attention because it was about strategy meeting the real world. We focus on that with our Strategic Execution process, which assures that the strategic plan ties to an executable operating plan.
I don’t know the folks at pointb that paid for this ad, but what got me to take the picture and post this is the line in the ad that says “The only measure of success is getting the right results.” We could not agree more. However, that is a big “duh” to almost everyone. So what gets in the way of getting the right results?
Many people would suggest that the strategy is not tied to a plan. Could be, and lots of very smart people will tell you that excellent execution of a mediocre strategy beats a great strategy unexecuted. Others will suggest that without a well thought out strategy, you can’t know what execution should be. That too makes some sense.
However, the key for us, and what triggered this whole post is the key phrase “right results.” In my experience, defining and agreeing on the results you are trying to achieve is the #1 cause of failed execution. Too often we assume (and you know what happens when you do that) that we have agreed upon the results we are looking for.
My single best tip for you today is to learn to ask, “What results are we looking for” at every opportunity and pursue that line of questioning until you are SURE you have understanding, acceptance and agreement.