3 am wide-awake and your mind won’t shut off. No sleep coming for the next few hours from worry about why a project is not going well. Why are you not executing on what your well-laid plans told you would happen. Who is to blame? You? Your Team? Both? Frustration everywhere…what to do? Damn, here comes the sun and off to work with the wrong energy and approach.
Every manager or leader worth their salt, including myself, has had these wake up calls or stress dreams. I want to give you some ideas and tools you can implement to help put these thoughts to rest and allow you to see a clear path back from poor execution onto the road for great execution and success.
Execution without Emotional Judgement
First thing, you have to take emotion out of the equation. Emotion is the catalyst that accelerates the stress and pulls you down various rabbit holes of angst, none of which help. Judging yourself or your team on a personal level will only cloud your vision. Judging a team’s poor execution without clearly understanding what is happening will do more damage long term than the failure to execute on a project will.
We need to go back and take a look at the following
Were the original idea or project goals crystal clear so that there were no interpretations?
I have sat in meeting where the CEO says “We want to increase our business by 20% this year”. While that is a specific number, was it referring to overall growth? Was it for a single product or department? The more specific you can be on what you want to do or accomplish, the easier it is to execute. (See this article on goal setting.)
Did you create the steps necessary to accomplish this goal?
What I recommend is to have a small number of people that this change affects walk through all the steps and things that have to happen to accomplish this. Then I would open it up to a few more peoples in each department so that you make sure you did not miss anything. Sometimes a person you never thought of will be impacted or could contribute to the success of this new goal or project.
Did you assign people specific roles/tasks and then schedule a timeline to accomplish them?
Too often there are assumptions made on who will do what or when it is expected to be delivered. The clearer you can be, the better everyone can execute the plan.
Create an accountability schedule.
This is usually the point that is missed. Too often we trust our team to get things done but they also can be pulled in different directions each day and all good intentions to get the tasks accomplished fall by the wayside. Make sure there is scheduled check-ins to keep the project on point
I know even in my company, when I get frustrated at the poor execution by myself, or my team, that by looking at these 4 things I usually find that one of these steps was not executed to the best of our abilities.
If you do not take time to make sure your path is being followed you can get caught up in the day to day minutia of running a business and forget to work on the business and move it forward.
Once you have this map, you can get back on track easier, frustration falls away because you have specific actions you can follow to accomplish your goals.