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4 Reasons Execution Breaks Down: and How to Fix It post image

When execution is broken, so is leadership. Teams that don’t execute are starving. They crave vision and direction. Carrots don’t improve vision.

Execution breaks down when there’s..

  • fuzzy vision
  • lack of buy-in
  • hidden agendas
  • competing priorities
  • confusion
  • chaos
  • apathy
  • broken teamwork
  • ?

Don’t blame, punish, or make excuses. Lead better.

4 Reasons Execution Breaks Down (and what to do about it)

  1. Lack of Commitment
    Excitement doesn’t necessarily mean commitment. Encourage early dissent. Ask, “what’s wrong with this plan?” or “How’s everyone feeling.” Check with folks offline. Ignored objections will visit later in uglier clothes.
  2. Unspoken Agendas
    You’re the boss, so they go along. But, they have their own ideas, stakeholders and personal concerns. Surface competing commitments. Help the team prioritize. Talk one-on-one.
  3. Fuzzy Direction
    You think the plan is clear– it’s not. Ask the team to articulate their specific next steps and timeline. I’m often amazed at the breakdowns. Best to catch them early.
  4. Moving Too Fast
    I’ve got scar tissue on this one.Early in my career my boss pulled me aside.
“Karin, you’ve got good ideas and big energy. Your brain moves quickly. You get remarkably excited. You rally the team and start running. BUT. you get running so far ahead that you forget to look back and see if we’re with you. Slow down, look back, folks are gasping for air on the side of the road and can’t see you. Make sure we’re with you.”

If you’re a runner, learn to wait at the water stops. Check for understanding.

Commitment, agendas, direction, velocity.

How can we lead toward better execution?
Filed Under:   Results & Execution
 
 
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.
 

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What People Are Saying

Sridhar Laxman   |   27 April 2013   |   Reply

Karin
Another great post, highly relevant in today’s global teams, short deadlines scenario.The points mentioned by you for breakdown in execution are very true, I believe ‘lack of ownership’ would also be a key reason for the derailment. You need someone to own the execution from the start to the finish line.Someone who will ‘get it done’ despite all the challenges, barriers that may come in the way, someone who looks beyond ‘ this is not my dept, my job description’…
Would love to hear your views on this.
Regards,
Sridhar

letsgrowleaders   |   27 April 2013   |   Reply

Sridhar, that’s a very important add. Accountability and strong project management is VITAL. I have seen execution break down from “lack of ownership” many times. Thanks so much for adding it. Ironically, I have also seen projects where folks from different departments all think they are the most important “owner” and the project drowns from all the battle of competing priorities.