Reading from the book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, I read these two paragraphs by co-author Ram Charan that are worth sharing…
“As an adviser to senior leaders of companies large and small, I often work with a client for ten or more consecutive years. I have the opportunity to observe corporate dynamics over time and to participate directly in them. I first began to identify the problem of execution more than three decades ago, as I observed that strategic plans often did not work out in practice. As I facilitated meetings at the CEO and division levels, I watched and studied, and I saw that leaders placed too much emphasis on what some call high-level strategy, on intellectualizing and philosophizing, and not enough on implementation. People would agree on a project or initiative, and then nothing would come of it. My own nature is to follow through, so when this happened, I’d pick up the phone, call the person in charge, and ask, ‘What happened?’ In time I saw a pattern and realized that execution was a major issue.
Here is the fundamental problem: people think of execution as the tactical side of business, something leaders delegate while they focus on the perceived ‘bigger’ issues. This idea is completely wrong. Execution is not just tactics – it is a discipline and a system. It has to be built into a company’s strategy, its goals, and its culture. And the leader of the organization must be deeply engaged in it. He cannot delegate its substance. Many business leaders spend vast amounts of time learning and promulgating the latest management techniques. But their failure to understand and practice execution negates the value of almost all they learn and preach. Such leaders are building houses without foundations.”