Friday, October 12, 2012

10 Ways Business Leaders Can Turn Ideas Into Execution

One of most frustrating challenges facing business leaders today is closing what is commonly known as the execution gap (or sometimes the strategy gap). The execution gap is a perceived gap between a company’s strategies and expectations and its ability to meet those goals and put ideas into action.

Due to the complexity of people, businesses, and the societal constructs in which we operate, it is more difficult than it might seem at first glance to close this gap. A survey in 2007 found that 49% of business leaders perceived a gap between strategy and execution; 64% lacked confidence in their company’s ability to narrow it.

However, there are some simple rules for closing the execution gap.

  • Clearly Define the Desired End Result
A big problem with going from idea to implementation is simply a lack of clearly defined vision and goals. Leaders who cannot define what they want accomplished can hardly expect others to understand their strategy and participate in their projects with any level of meaningful contribution. Fuzzy definitions will produce fuzzy results, if any at all. The more specifically you can define your expectations, the better it will allow employees to wrap their minds around what they’re supposed to be working toward. Without this clarity, they will often end up stumbling around in the metaphorical dark, trying to divine what the leaders really want instead of accomplishing it.

  • Concisely Articulate the “Why”

Since leaders need the effort of others, they must be able to effectively communicate to them what they want done and, more importantly, why they want to do it. Clear and concise communication is vitally important because employees are more likely to disappoint if they don’t understand what you expect.

Furthermore, explaining the why behind strategic decisions gives employees a deeper understanding of how their knowledge and work will be a contribution to the larger whole. Without this understanding it is easy for them to feel isolated instead of feeling like actively engaged participants in a meaningful enterprise.