It’s All About the Execution
- Feb 15, 2008
Follow through…It seems like a pretty basic concept. When I was just starting out in business one of my original mentors told me “to just do what you say you’re going to do, and that, in and of itself, will place you in a very select group within the business world.” When I was younger it seemed impossible to me that doing something so basic could lead to great success. Well, now that I’m older and more experienced all I can say is “how right he was!” It never ceases to amaze me at the number of people that fail to deliver on their commitments. The old cliché of “over-promising and under-delivering” has sadly become all too commonplace in the business world. Is it really that hard to fulfill on promises made? So my question to you is this…Can you, and do you, walk the talk? So inexorably interwoven into the fabric of today’s business culture is this trend that I frequently observe people who have actually come to expect failure. Furthermore, when said failure occurs it is accepted as usual and customary practice. It is the failure to follow through that blows-up transactions, causes employees to seek work elsewhere, sends what were once loyal customers running to the competition and it can send even the strongest of brands into decline. Failure itself is not necessarily a bad thing…in fact, I have always learned more from my failures than I have my successes. However accepting failure, not learning from failure, or failing through apathy or ignorance are corporate killers. As a person in a position of authority make sure that you set the chinning bar very high. Expect great things of people, equip them to succeed and don’t ever accept failure as being okay. When the inevitable failures do occur, conduct a failure analysis to determine what went wrong and why, transfer the knowledge gained across the enterprise and move on to more fertile ground. Some people don’t follow through simply because they are lazy, and it is just easier to deal with the consequences of not following through than it is to actually invest the effort in getting the job done. Have you ever experienced the individuals who just tell you what they think you want to hear? These people fall into two distinct categories. The first category is the people pleaser. These individuals don’t like conflict and will say or do just about anything to avoid it. They believe if they tell you what you want to hear long enough, that it will either come true or that you’ll just go away, and either one is okay by them. The second category is comprised of the darker side of business. These are the individuals that will say or do anything to initially get your business, but once they have separated you from your money they could care less about what was said before the sale. In either case (well intentioned or otherwise) beware of those individuals that appear to be just saying what you want to hear as trouble will surely follow. Sadly, all it really takes to stand out in corporate America is to follow the direction of my mentor and just do what you say you’ll do…It doesn’t matter where you went to school, how smart you are, what your title is or any number of other considerations, if you want to succeed learn to honor your commitments and execute. I am a perfect example of someone who has probably achieved more success in business than deserved by simply doing nothing more than honoring my commitments…I say what I mean…I mean what I say…I do what I say I’m going to do. It is just not that hard to follow through.