Execution: Doing What Needs to Be Done
As was discussed in our 08/24/12 post—“Waiting Game Can Prove Costly”—the vast majority of NAPL State of the Industry participants aren’t playing that game. Instead, they’ve instituted or plan to institute initiatives to make this year better than last year. These companies realize that growth and success are going to be much more a reflection of what they do than of any bounce from a better business climate. But many of them also realize that initiatives and plans usually don’t amount to much without effective execution. In fact, without effective execution—doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done—initiatives can turn out to be more wasteful than beneficial.
Being aware of the importance of execution is one thing; actually overcoming its challenges and roadblocks is another. According to State of the Industry participants, the most common roadblock—cited by almost half (46.3%) of the companies—is poor follow-through. We’ve all been there at one point or another; we get off to a good start, but somehow lose focus. Among other frequently cited challenges and roadblocks to execution:
• Resistance to/fear of change: We’re more comfortable with the status quo, and strive to maintain it.
• Procrastination: This is frequently related to the fear of change. We wait too long to act, resulting in missed opportunities.
• Insufficient skills to do what we need to do: The staffing issue—acquiring and developing the proper skill sets—has taken on a much more prominent role in our industry.
The importance of overcoming these and other challenges to effective execution has never been greater. The NAPL State of the Industry Report, Tenth Edition (www.napl.org) discusses several ideas how, including the following:
• breaking projects up into manageable pieces in order to get started,
• prioritizing to determine what to do first and finding the time to do it,
• cultivating behaviors that support effective execution, and
• clarifying responsibilities and keeping information flowing.
As the report shows, decision rights and information are key building blocks for organizational effectiveness toward successful execution—toward the difference betweenparticipating in recovery or being left behind.
Andy Paparozzi Joe Vincenzino