Most of us as managers spend a considerable amount of time speculating and strategizing on how best to complete our team’s work in an efficient and effective manner. Even the most experienced leaders spend considerable time examining how best to allocate resources to maximize results. As a result, theories and advice over execution appear in almost every business book.
So, what is the big deal with execution? Put simply, the core of the challenge relates to the gap between planning and results. After we formulate the best outcome for the future and identify the resources necessary, discipline comes into play. Execution is bridges planning and success.
When managers and employees discuss the challenges of execution, they typically identify components related to manager knowledge, operating environments, and human behavior. In other words, successful execution like many business phenomenon occurs when multiple factors jointly support a favorable outcome. For example, a recent HCS survey of 400 managers and 400 employees found three primary precursors to successful execution in the workplace:
- Understanding the elements and their interaction – Although most of us try to manage the factors that influence outcomes, many times our understanding of how things fit together fails to reach a sufficient level to be effective. As a result, we make decisions with imperfect information regarding resources, processes, and outcomes. If we want to be success at execution, we must understand the components, how they interaction, and how best to allocate them.
- Reducing conflicting interests – Human reality includes multiple interests. As leaders as well as employees, we have multiple allegiances and strive for conflicting outcomes. Something that is good for the team may not be good for the organization just as something that is good for us as an individual may run counter to the interests of the team and the organization. A big part of successful execution encompasses aligning interests or determining the best way for as many levels to “win” as possible. Multiple levels of success significantly enhance the chance that everyone places as much effort as possible behind the organization’s objectives.
- Supporting people – When an employee feels that his or her employer cares about their well-being and personal interests, the employee strives to meet the organization’s interests. As a core component of engagement, an employee like any human being desires to be part of something bigger than them and involved in a fulfilling relationship. We all want to feel needed and part of something important. If an employee feels that his or her employer would go beyond for them, then they will reciprocate.