Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The difference between success and failure

How does a visionary project turn into an utter failure? When does a great strategy and an innovative plan turn into a project you never want to mention again?

I've seen it too many times: The strategy was spot-on, the tactics delight the client and the plan has enough breathing room to allow for revisions and issues. And all this excitement and energy ends up in a mediocre, at best, effort that leaves a bad taste in everybody's mouth.
Mind you, I'm not talking about oversold projects that never had the chance to make it to the Olymp. I'm talking about projects that looked like sure winners and ended up being stinkers.

The reason? One word: Execution.
We tend to pay a lot of attention to strategy, innovation and tactics. But too often we forget the real key to success: implementation.

Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan wrtoe the essential guide to Implementation: 'Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things done.'
If you have a chance, grab it. If not, here are some quotes:

"Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability."

And my favorite:

"I saw that leaders placed too much emphasis on what some call high-level strategy, on intellectualizing and philosophizing, and not enough on implementation. People would agree on a project or initiative, and then nothing would come of it."

How many companies fail every year because they don't execute. How many innovative campaigns don't connect because they were not executed appropriately?
Way too many.


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