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Committing To Goal Or Engaging In Wishful Thinking?

by David Brock on January 11th, 2011

I really don’t mean this to be a New Year’s resolution piece, though the title may sound like it.  I really wanted to focus a discussion commitment—-commitment to change, commitment to achieving a goal, commitment to execution, commitment to doing something and seeing it through.

Since it is the New Year, both organizationally and individually, we have new plans, strategies and goals.  They may be expressed in terms of quotas, revenue, profit goals.  They may be new initiatives or new programs.  In some organizations, the process for establishing these actually started back in August or September.  There’s something about the activity of developing strategies or plans that we like.  We spend endless hours strategizing and planning, it’s intellectually challenging and fun.

However, strategies and plans without execution is wishful thinking.

Our plans are meaningless unless we execute them.  We need to establish milestones, schedules, deadlines.  We need to establish metrics and then measure progress against the milestones, goals and schedules.  We need to establish accountability– hold people accountable — give them the opportunity, tools, resources, leadership and coaching so they can perform.

Strategies and plans focus on a future state, execution is about managing the change process to achieve that future state.

Execution is dirty and messy.  Strategies and plans focus on possibilities, execution is about making it happen — despite the constraints, despite things not going perfectly, despite surprises along the way.

Developing new strategies and plans is critical, they provide direction for growing and harness our ambitions, but we need to go the next step and execute, adjust, execute those strategies and plans.  There is no room for wishful thinking in business!

(By the way, one of the best pieces I’ve read on this topic is from my friend Wally Bock.  Make sure to read his post!)

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