Assess (and Avoid!) the Dangerous Gap Between Good Ideas and Execution
The most common reason why organizations fail at implementing new ideas is because they’re simply not capable of successfully executing them. And it doesn’t matter how super the idea is — whenever any new concept or strategy is put on the table, it’s critical to assess the gap between its good intent and your organization’s core ability to implement and execute it. Be rigorous in your assessment, considering the time, money, resources and culture needed for successful execution. Follow this disciplined approach, and it will allow you to say “no” to good ideas you cannot do well and focus more on those you can.
Company leaders get caught up in this conundrum all the time. If they are not the ones always coming up with new ideas, they’re likely getting fresh thoughts and suggestions regularly from the staff they’ve hired. And that makes sense because they’ve probably purposefully hired talented employees who are not just skilled workers but also powerful thinkers, visionaries or “idea people.” While it’s important to have such folks on your staff, bosses beware! Sometimes you need another good idea like you need a bullet in your head… particularly if your organization is truly not able to execute it successfully.
The trick is to keep the ideas flowing while instituting a methodology for determining whether or not your company is equipped and able to execute the ideas.
One way to do that is with the following, simple checklist that asks four, useful questions.
- Do you have the right people with the right talent(s) to execute this strategy?
- Do the right people have the time to execute this strategy?
- Do you have the funding/money or other resources required to execute this strategy?
- Does this idea or strategy clearly align with your company’s mission? Is it innate to your organization’s culture, vision and goals?
How did you fare? If you put a check next to each of these following questions, you’ve got great odds for success. If not, then you’ve got to practice relentless discipline and “just say no” to the idea, no matter how tempting it may be or from whom it comes.
Sometimes using this checklist can be challenging, even for the most progressive, productive companies on the planet. But take MAP, for instance — our core mission is to bring discipline, accountability and execution to companies and high performing leaders. We initiate that through our 2.5 day — MAP Program and follow that up with personalized coaching and our Vital Factors® system for management. For us, this checklist is a great way to keep our ideas in check with our abilities so as not to negatively impact the productivity and morale of our company.
Feel free to use this checklist as a decision-making tool. Similar to the symbolic Hedgehog Concept, outlined in Jim Collins’ “Good to Great,” this helps in recognizing a potential gap between a winning idea and, importantly, your organization’s ability to see it through to the finish line.
What do you think is the #1 reason companies or their leaders fail to execute great ideas?