One of the greatest challenges facing every business owner or leadership team is executing on a defined strategic direction. If we can’t bring our strategy to life, it doesn’t matter how clearly defined the strategy is or how lofty our goals are. The foundation of execution is healthy, dynamic, and proactive leadership.
But what happens when leadership fails? Many factors can lead to a failed execution of strategic goals. When execution goes awry, we often blame our failures on a lack resources or responsibility within management, an inefficient process, lack of organization, etc. But, sometimes in business, it is not only what a company lacks that creates barriers to execution. Rather, it is what a company has that is the problem. For instance:
- Too many fires. When companies are busy firefighting, they believe they don’t have time to spend on systematic execution.
- Too much adrenaline. Some leaders are adrenaline junkies. They don’t want to engage in the discipline of execution because they like the rush of the fire drill and the chance to be a hero.
- Too much success. Today’s success can be a barrier to tomorrow’s victory. If things happen to be going well without a plan, people assume they will continue on that track. They trust luck rather than skill—and, in the end, luck fails.
When addressing failed execution of well-defined goals, we must look beyond what we don’t have. We can lack many things and still succeed, but sometimes the excesses will catapult our well-intended plan into utter mayhem. In becoming complete leaders, we must take note of both the holes and the surplus, as they can be illustrative of systematic problems.
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