We are all enamored with the visionary. They are celebrated as groundbreakers, courageous and responsible for many of the things we take for granted today. We see them on TV or on magazine covers. We look at them in awe wondering how they do all they do. I too celebrate them but I will let you in on a secret. Their real gift is surrounding themselves with people who can execute.
Behind every successful visionary are others you may never hear of but should be celebrated nonetheless. These individuals behind the visionary are the ones responsible to take the ideas and make them a reality. Without these people, we are just left with ideas. What these people are skilled at is creating the processes so that things can be repeated over and over so the product or service can be brought to the masses.
The reason I am focusing on this is as I travel and work with businesses around the country, the idea of “process” is not exciting to talk about but it is the glue that holds a company together. Businesses are looking for that “Big Idea” or concept to help them when in reality most companies fail because of execution, not lack of ideas. They fail because they just think things will happen because they have great employees.
I am sure that Steve Jobs was not setting up the supply chain or each process to build the actual IPhone or IPad. I am sure he was kept up to speed and had input but I would think he said these magic words that most visionaries posses in their arsenal, “Make it happen”.
In my opinion failure of many businesses or teams to execute falls into two categories only
- There is no process
- There is no accountability to follow the process
That’s it. Don’t complicate the issue.
Many business leaders have responded to me that, “I just have the wrong people doing it or the wrong person managing them”. Now part of this can be true but what I point out to these individuals is that we need to look at WHAT you are asking them to do before you go firing staff. If everyone is failing the same question on a test, maybe it is the way you are asking the question or have taught that part of the subject, NOT the fact that all the people taking the test are stupid.
Let’s address the above situations.
- So what is a good process? One that outlines a step-by-step path that your team can follow and more importantly, that the person who is overseeing this team can follow as well. I have written previous articles in regards to being specific with your instructions to alleviate interpretation. Without a clear process, you end up wasting energy or time recreating the supposed execution.
- Quick Quiz: Take any process in your company right now and answer this question. “How are you holding your team accountable?” Did you find compliance or have you allowed your team to skip steps, edit the process, change it to what “works” for them, which now may not align with what “works” for the company. The good news is that if you have a process in place, getting the team back on track will be much simpler than if you have to go create a process and train the team. Either way you cannot have people executing your service or selling your product the way they want to. That will be a very quick way to destroy your business.
Take the time over the next week or two and look at your business. See if you have processes in place to handle everything you are asking your employees to do. Check to see if they have been properly trained to execute. If not, please re-train your team. Then, look at your accountability matrix to see if you have a process for that and how that is being executed.
I am sure this exercise will either make you very happy or open your eyes to gaps that need to be addressed. Don’t wait. Everyday you wait you are gambling on the future success of your business.