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Ideas v Execution

Late last year, I was fortunate to attend a conference at which Chris McChesney was speaking. Chris is the author of a book titled 'The Four Disciplines of Execution'. As I reflect on my own journey in business, the trap I can often fall into is to esteem ideas above execution, or creation above completion.


As a society, we value creativity, and there are many development options available to encourage and support entrepreneurial endeavours. However, there is not so much focus on how to complete those things we’ve started. Perhaps the topic is a little too boring!


However, if your business is anything like ours, the biggest improvements in performance would come not from another idea, but from ensuring an existing idea is executed well.


Chris summarised the four disciplines of execution as follows:


Focus on the wildly important

  • There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute.

  • To achieve focus, you need to say no to some good ideas.

  • Don’t go big, go narrow.

  • Define what lives in the overlap of 'really important' and 'needs attention'

Act on lead measures

  • These should be predictive rather than lagging. For example, if the goal was weight loss, lead measures could be diet and exercise.

  • Your team must be able to influence the measures.

  • Rigorously measure your predictive indicators.

  • Don’t have too many.

Keep a compelling scoreboard

  • Create a scoreboard that enables everyone in the business to see and easily understand the score.

  • Remember it is a players scoreboard, not a coaches scoreboard.

  • Team engagement is driven by people thinking they are winning. Do the people in your team feel like they are playing a winnable game?

Create a cadence of accountability

  • Commitments to change are always important – and usually not urgent. Don’t let the whirlwind of busyness take over.

  • Report to the team on last weeks commitment.

  • Review and update the scoreboard.

  • Involve the team in identifying the commitment for next week.

As you define your plans for the year ahead, ensure that as well as identifying what you are going to do, invest some energy in how you are going to get it done.

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