Ideas, often overrated, look great on paper but fail on ground. An 'executioner' on how you can successfully kick-start a new business strategy.
|An Idea Can Change Your Life!|
From promising start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, one of the top three things occupying a corporate head honcho's mind is delivering a strategy. It might be a great Idea, but it's worth little if not executed effectively. In the race for survival, a brilliant initiative often dies - either in a loud crash or via quiet suffocation among other competing priorities.
The trouble, says Rajan Kaicker, executive chairman and managing director, FranklinCovey India & South Asia - a global company specializing in performance improvement - is that at the corporate level, companies focus on bringing in new business while execution is not on their radar. "It's surprising how ignorant organisations can be everyone is waiting for the next big idea but no one wants to execute it. Ideating costs nothing, execution requires planning," says Kaciker, who has co-authored The 4 Disciplines of Execution, an 18-month effort that emphasizes on how to execute your goals by following the four disciplines of focusing on wildly important goals, acting on lead measures, keeping a compelling scoreboard and creating a cadence of accountability.
Stay on your Toes
Sharing the example of how technology is affecting the supply and demand chain at an unimaginable speed, Kaicker says, "Look at how online retail has scaled up. Back in 2013, none of us would have imagined that this was possible." He adds, "You may be sleeping blissfully one night and, by morning, a disruptive technology would have occupied a large portion of your market share."
Therefore, it's all the more important for leaders and managers to constantly be in the game. "If you have a great idea, don't wait for a good time to execute it. Start work on it in the now."
Whatever your business or industry, success depends on executing a well-crafted strategy, but most leaders do not recognize their team's capability. "Your team isn't sitting idle; in fact, most of us put in 14 to 16 hours of productivity at work. That's why, every time a new initiative is announced, employees give out that invisible groan that says, 'where am I going to get the time to finish my work and attend to this new thing?'," says Kaicker, adding that, therefore, when devising a new strategy and its execution plan, it's important to figure it your team can actually deliver this plan considering their current workload. If not, can you hire a new team?
Urgent vs Important
Certain urgent activities that are required to keep your firm running consume all your time and energy. That is your urgent business. Leaders, says Kaicker, should understand that everyone is working hard. They should learn to differentiate between the critical (which needs to be tackled immediately) and the significant (which can be dealt with once the current crisis is over). In such situations, it's important to prioritize your goals.
New Means Change
When you plan to bring in a new target and a fresh strategy along with it, it is imperative to understand that it would require introducing a new behavior in the team. "Behavior change is the hardest to bring about. However, you cannot expect to carry on the same everyday attitude and expect things to get better. Day after day, the competition only gets tougher and tighter. Therefore, a more innovative attitude needs to be introduced into the existing culture," he says.
Behavioral change, adds Kaicker, is brought about by ensuring accountability. You can measure the strength of this change in behavior when you see the positive impact through your actions. This gives you the motivation to continue with the change even though it may be really hard to actualize it.
Don't Be a Jack of All Trades
As the saying goes, being a jack of all trades will make you a master of none. "Never make your team run after 10 ideas to see if one or two work. Let the focus be on one of two great ideas alone and making them work. That requires guts, but that's what great leaders do. America's best-known business leader, Jack Welsh consolidated several business into 12 key companies and increased the revenues by multiple folds. "The human brain is not designed to multi-task, so don't boost that culture. If you are encouraging multi-tasking, you are in fact, promoting failure," warns Kaicker. You know it for yourself that had you focused better on just one job, the result would have been far better than it is with juggling.
Stay on the same Plane
The problem with most teams is that every individual or team is working in a silo. Encourage the team to see the big picture, together. The trouble is when everyone is listening to different beats of different drummers, it's important to speak the same profit language. You can't be dreaming of conquering Mt Everest while your team is drafting a route map of Kilimanjaro.