I have a colleague who is an expert at planning. A dreamer, innovator and a good planner as well. He can create the vision, he understands how to create a plan and he can visualize the journey to success.
Ram Charan, noted author and consultant on strategic planning, is quoted as saying “Execution is the great unaddressed issue in the business world today. Its absence is the single biggest obstacle to success and the cause of most of the disappointments that are mistakenly attributed to other causes.”
For years we’ve built up an abundance of knowledge, skills and talent to help organizations build solid strategic plans. But then we all go back to work.
Larry Bossidy, past CEO of Honeywell International, put it best when he said “Many people regard execution as detail work that’s beneath the dignity of a business leader. That’s wrong … it’s a leader’s most important job.”
If you are involved in the strategic planning process of any organization (your own, a local charity, PMI chapter or any other Association) may I suggest that you stand up at the end of the process and propose one more meeting: how are we going to make this happen?
Take all of the work that has been proposed, lay it out on a board and go through each action item or group of work and ask these questions:
- who is responsible?
- who is going to do the work?
- how long will it take?
- how much money will it take?
- are there any milestones during this work packet?
- what does completion look like?
And then the last, uncomfortable question…
- what happens if this does not get done?
A solid strategic execution plan starts with these questions. Just taking the time after the initial planning phase, to go through this list, is more than most organizations will do.
Keep an eye and ear out for the launch of our new book “7 Elements of Strategy Execution” – May, 2018.
1 thought on “Planning is Good – But You Have to Follow Through”
Asking the question, “who own’s this?” Is a big step in ensuring things get done. If no one puts up their hand it won’t get done; if 2 or more put up their hand, choose 1. Ownership is a big start to execution. As the saying goes, one throat to choke. How thy get it done is a completely different discussion.