The ability to get things done
WHAT IS IT?
Execution is the ability to create a detailed plan to achieve a certain goal and then drive that plan to completion. Sometimes the plan needs to be altered, and there are almost always problems, but people who know how to execute get results despite the obstacles.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Murphy’s Law tells us that there will always be problems. Things rarely go according to plan. A leader needs to have the ability to drive to results despite potential hurdles, or things will never get done. They need to stay focused on deadlines and deal with problems decisively. If leaders cannot push through obstacles and work toward execution, the projects, teams, and organizations may crumble.
Suggestions for Improvement
- Use Project Management Tools
First, leaders need to know how to create detailed plans that identify all the major tasks of a project. Doing so also allows them to assign those tasks to the right people. Gantt charts are an example of a useful planning tool, a structure that identifies tasks that need to get done, and gives each task a deadline and team. In addition, certain tasks need to be completed before other tasks can begin, and those dependencies are noted, monitored as bottlenecks that could stall the work. This is all put into a chart that forms a graphic visualization of the project timeline.
- Get Regular Updates
Second, leaders who are good at executing and delivering results do so by getting regular updates from their direct reports. They monitor progress, consistently inquire about obstacles, and don’t leave anything to chance. Leaders who get things done focus on deadlines and expect others to deliver on time, so they’re in regular communication to fairly but firmly hold direct reports accountable.
- Practice Problem Anticipation
Finally, improve your execution skills by expecting problems and trying to anticipate where they may occur. Practice doing so with your own life, or make a sample list for your current organization. What are the biggest problems you’re dealing with today? Write them down and create a plan to deal with each one proactively. As a problem emerges, it needs to be dealt with swiftly and thoughtfully. Small problems usually turn into bigger problems if they go unaddressed.
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