Let's begin with eliminating a widespread misunderstanding: Great leaders make great results... The reality is: Leaders don’t make results.
At least not themselves, physically. Leaders are leaders, because they lead.
What real leaders do is to ENABLE their team to achieve things, which in the end leads to results.
And that little word ENABLE is what either brings progress or friction to an initiative, it is how energy is directed in the right direction and roadblocks are being removed.
Execution: From Plans to Results
Seen from a senior leadership perspective, organizations are in place to serve customers.
To develop and improve products and services, and to deliver them.
And to manage the admin, and comply with rules and regulations.
And it is the results of all that, which financially - and hopefully - satisfies the owners.
All of that is what we – as leaders – speak about in more abstract terms as Visions, Strategies, Must-Win-Battles, and other management buzz words.
Yet in the end, all of the strategies and plans are leading nowhere without execution.
The link from our high-level strategies and plans and on to where we want to be – at the juicy celebration of great results – goes through execution.
That is the day-to-day work carried out by members of your team, sub-teams, divisions, and project teams and however you have decided to organize people.
Execution is the physical work carried out in development, sales, marketing, admin, finance, legal, operations, and logistics and all other functions.
You – the leader – is not doing all of that.
You don't make the results - but you play another very important role.
As a leader, you ENABLE
What you do as a leader, is to ENABLE your teams, projects, and sub-teams to perform.
To do their best, to reach for the objectives and visions outlined.
At senior levels, players are reaching for the overall vision of the organization, whereas lower management levels and operational functions strive to deliver on their operationalized parts of the vision.
People don’t go to work to save the Planet from pollution, although it may be a reason for working with your company.
Most of them go to work every single day to contribute their best in the function they are in, because they understand the importance of their work and how that helps saving the Planet.
And the playfield they have is what you – the leader – ENABLES them to.
The ENABLERS for teams to perform
At the fundamental level of leadership, execution leads to results when 2 elements are in place:
DIRECTION – WHAT to achieve
ACTION – HOW to make it happen
The right Direction expresses your strategies and goals, whereas the Actions is what brings you there.
When breaking those 2 core elements down into the fundamental ENABLERS for teams to execute, there are 4 elements to balance:
WHAT to achieve
> You – the leader – must be clear on WHAT you aim to achieve
> The WHAT to achieve must be aligned with the team – anyone out of sync causes friction
HOW to make it happen
> The right COMPETENCIES must be available
> The right RESOURCES – people, time, and money – in the right mix
An ecosystem of ENABLERS
The 4 enablers are inter-related and dynamic and as your teams move on in the execution, things change.
People’s perspectives develop. Ideas appear, and challenges or external events causes disturbance.
No matter the reason, if the 4 elements go out of sync, execution will be affected. And it is a continuous effort to keep the 4 elements in balance. Without a good balance, the team is unable to execute, and results will suffer.
Ultimately, the team is either ENABLED or UNABLE.
That is all down to your ability ENABLE your team to make the right things happen, which ultimately leads to results.
The starting point for the team to execute is therefore for you - as the leader - to ensure that the underlying ENABLERS are in place, kept in continuous balance - and orchestrate progress from there.