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Those Pesky Details! Making Things Happen

by David Brock on April 5th, 2011

My last post, Effective Sales Coaching–Closing The Loop, has generated some interesting feedback.   One of the thoughts that came up is our propensity to plan, talk about new ideas, but our failure to move forward.

I encounter this all the time.  Well intended people invest lots of time and energy in coming up with new strategies, great ideas, even action plans with target dates and accountabilities.  Then we go back to do our jobs….

All our good intentions seem to go by the wayside, the momentum of everything else that we have on our plates overtakes us and we fail to execute our great plans and strategies.

There are some other things at play–developing plans and strategies is fun, creative work.  Executing is drudgery.  We have to roll up our sleeves and actually focus on the details of making things happen.  Often, it’s stuff we have to do by ourselves.  We have to research, analyze, do all sorts of things.  We may find we haven’t developed our ideas and strategies well, it requires a lot more work than we originally anticipated.  It’s not glamorous.  But without focusing on the details, executing them, nothing happens.  We don’t make progress in achieving our goals.

Execution is about change–it requires us to change.  In it’s most simple form, it requires us to do something new or something different—it’s always easier to just let things be.  More likely, it requires both us and others to change.  It means we have to stop some of the things we are doing, to do some of the things differently, to do things new.  Some may resist, so we have to invest in overcoming that resistance.  It’s not glamorous and certainly not fun.  Sometimes it requires some degree of conflict–people have differing ideas, attitudes, and goals.  It’s tough work.

It requires discipline and focus.  We tend to like diversions.  We’re slaves to our Blackberries and IPhones.  A text comes in, we drop everything and respond.  We see an interesting tweet, we have to re-tweet it.  We can always check email and respond to a query.   Let’s face it, most of us our very poor in time management, we are interrupt and react driven.  That runs counter to executing a plan where we have to identify and execute each step.  We avoid thinking about time management (other than complaining) or project management.

It makes us accountable.  It’s easy to talk about new ideas, we can freewheel, we can explore all sorts of things and have interesting discussions.  Once we start executing, we then become accountable for the results or outcomes.  If we fail to achieve them it’s our failure.  It’s easier not to start, then somehow we fool ourselves in thinking that we are not accountable.

The highest performers–whether sales people, managers, executives are ruthlessly execution focused.  They know great plans, strategies, and good intentions are worth nothing unless executed.  They know execution is about details–and drudgery, but they know without this, goals aren’t achieved.

What are you avoiding?  What would happen if you just started executing?  Are you working the details?

Confession:  I have a big task sitting in front of me at this moment.  I’ve been avoiding it, writing a blog article is a great diversion.  Now I’ve finished, I can’t avoid it any longer…..

 

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