Often, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I tell them, “I help leaders close the gap between the reality of where they are now and where they ideally want to be.”
I help them build the bridge between their current reality and a new ideal, and it is my passion to do so.
I hear from leaders every day who are in this gap. These leaders have great ideas that don’t come to fruition. They have powerful vision that never becomes their new reality. They have big goals but few results.
I believe the biggest gap most leaders have (in their personal and professional lives) is between what they plan to do and what actually gets done. Simply stated, it is the gap between planning and executing.
How do you know you’re standing in the gap? You will…
- Sense a frustration with how things are but have little to no hope they will ever change. You can’t go back, but you won’t move forward.
- Notice apathy – a lack of motivation. You have found enough motivation to push you forward from status quo, but you are missing – or resisting – the pull to go higher.
- Be envious of those who are successful in the area to which you aspire. Think about it. Why are you envious? It is likely because they have found a way to get to where you really want to be.
Why don’t your strategic plans get you to where you want to be?
The fact is, it may not be the plan.
Some of the best strategies developed in businesses today are dead on arrival, not because of the plan, but because of the inability to execute.
This is very much like many of us who fail each year in accomplishing our new year’s resolutions. We have big ideas and big goals, but rarely do we make a targeted plan and (here’s the key) give it the priority needed to accomplish the goals.
We make them “shoulds” not “musts”.
If you want to execute your plan, make it a “must!”
To cross the great divide between planning and vision, you need three things:
- Determined Perspective
- Dedicated People
- Defined Process
Execution requires a reality check.
Proper execution exposes reality and then acts on it. This means you must stop presenting and start asking your employees questions. You need open and honest dialogue that will raise the true realities of your business. Then you can create processes to facilitate the execution. If you start at process, you’re missing the point of execution.
Execution requires active leadership.
CEOs and other leaders can’t stand on the sideline and watch the rest of the team execute. The leadership team has to be engaged and personally involved. Like a coach, a leader needs to set the tone for the business and get on the field with the rest of the team!
Execution has to be a “way of life” in your business.
Executing can’t be the “flavor of the month”. It has to be embedded in the way your company operates. Just like a sports team practices every day of the week for the big game, so must your team practice the disciplines required to execute.
You need people who energize people.
These people focus on short-term accomplishments that drive the larger results. They are unique people with their own personal style of leadership.
You need people who can make tough decisions.
They are decisive and do not dance around making decisions. They do not show signs of procrastinating or avoiding the reality of a situation. And they accept the responsibility that is theirs.
You need people who truly know how to delegate.
These people get things done through others, which is a fundamental leadership skill. They possess a temperament that builds relationships…they work well with others.
You need people who make sure the team is doing what they committed to do.
These people are experts at follow-up. They are your accountability arm in the execution process.
This is the point where many goals falter. You may have determination and a great team, but if your strategic plan is not defined to the level of a doable process, you and your team could be spinning your wheels in the gap.
This is a dirty little secret from the small business level to the corporate board room. Many businesses have no defined roadmap. It’s not enough to know where you want to go and have a dedicated team – you also need a roadmap to ensure you get to the place to which you are determined to go.
How do you bridge the gap?
- Vision – Set the vision first. This will pull you forward.
- Strategy – This will push you forward.
- Execution – This will carry you through the gap.
And the key to execution is Determined Perspective, Dedicated People, and a Defined Process.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in talking to Dave about coaching or having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.