Mastering the art of execution is allusive for most. Strategic planning, SMART goals, and thousands of operational processes and plans are available to anyone who cares to search for them.
But actually seeing results on your team? That takes execution and implementation.
How do you translate that fantastic vision and mission statement into practice? You can master the art of execution by focusing on these five critical steps.
This step will take equal parts vision, mission and strategy; start by setting the expectation. Develop a clear picture of where you want to go. Be sure to articulate why this goal is essential and when you intend to reach it (give it a time frame).
This is the point when most teams memorialize things, put them on a poster and move on. But when it comes to mastering the art of execution, defining your goals is only the beginning.
When you have a clear framework and direction, expectations become simple. Next, you have to set appropriate expectations for timelines, responsibilities and metrics.
The goal here is to inspire your team to commit, engage and act. To do that, you have to connect to why you must accomplish those goals emotionally. A sense of passion brings the determination to overcome challenges, obstacles and uncertainties.
Mastering the art of execution requires a fair amount of grit. You will face unexpected obstacles. Competitors and allies alike will sideline you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. When committed, your team will pivot and get it done.
Dole out responsibilities
Committees don’t get things done. They debate, politically position and make resolutions. Resolutions only offer a glimpse of motive. Intent alone doesn’t actually deliver results.
Mastering the art of execution requires someone on your team to “own” each area.
Getting things done is the domain of those who have boots on the ground. Your front line is those who carry out the vision and mission. They make it a reality. Define who is responsible. Give that person the authority to carry it out. Both are critical to getting it accomplished.
Far too many times, those that are successful struggle with being “control freaks.” To master the art of execution, you have to trust those in your organization. You must delegate both the authority and the responsibility to get the mission done.
Mastering the art of execution melds with the need for transparent accountability. Each member of the team needs to own their metrics. Accountability becomes peer-based when the key performance indicators are open and visible to the entire team.
Peer-based accountability is a fantastic tool. What it does is keep the team cohesive. It also takes the pressure off you as the leader and adds it across the rest of the team. Excuses aren’t tolerated or justified by the team. Team members will call out and support the necessary growth in a caring way.
Also, give each person a single metric that they are accountable for personally — one measurement that encompasses what they contribute to the team’s success.
It could be volume on the sales side, client satisfaction on the servicing side, or strategic relationships added on the growth side. Many factors contribute to the success of those single metrics. But the magic is having a single metric for which each team member is accountable.
Focusing on too many key performance indicators diverges focus and leads to disappointing delivery.
Focus on relationships
Empires aren’t built alone. You will need a team of people around you. Surround yourself with people who inspire greatness in you. Build a tribe with those who are encouraging and loyal and who hold a standard of shared excellence.
The people you surround yourself with are arguably more important than what they do. Yes, everyone will have a job to do and a role to play. But the character of each person and how they fit into the culture of your team is nothing less than imperative. It is key to building a culture of team implementation.
Great leaders know how to integrate expectations into their planning. They build a tribe and lead with commitment. They model responsibility and accountability. Great leaders deliver results because they have learned how to master the art of execution.
Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building.