Execution: The Three Building Blocks

Execution isn’t just about making plans; it’s about making them happen. It’s about turning vision into reality, strategy into action, and goals into achievements. But what are the fundamental building blocks that lay the foundation for effective execution? Let’s take a look at the core principles that drive successful execution and some practical examples you can implement to make it happen.

Building Block One: The Leader’s Seven Essential Behaviours

At the heart of effective execution lies the leadership’s ability to embody seven essential behaviours:

1. Know your people and your business

Effective leaders are deeply connected to both their team members and the intricacies of their business operations. By being present and engaged, leaders create personal connections that build trust and understanding.

How? To become more connected with your team members, conduct regular reviews with frontline employees to demonstrate a commitment to understanding their challenges and successes firsthand.

2. Insist on realism

Reality (what we call brutal facts) forms the bedrock of execution. Leaders must confront challenges head-on and encourage candid dialogue to address issues honestly.

How? You can do this by facilitating team discussions where employees openly share successes and failures, creating a culture of transparency and problem-solving.

3. Set clear goals and priorities

Clarity breeds focus. Leaders must articulate concise, achievable goals that guide organisational efforts.

How? Start by outlining three strategic priorities for the quarter, ensuring alignment and clarity among team members.

4. Follow through

Words without action lack impact. Leaders must ensure that commitments are upheld and progress is monitored. 

How? Assign tasks with clear deadlines and hold regular check-ins to track progress and address any obstacles.

5. Reward the doers

Recognition fuels motivation. Leaders must acknowledge and incentivise those who contribute to successful outcomes. 

How? Try instituting a performance-based bonus system that rewards employees who exceed targets and demonstrate exceptional effort.

6. Expand people’s capabilities

Growth is a journey. Leaders must invest in developing their team members’ skills and fostering a culture of continuous learning.

How? Start by providing regular coaching sessions to employees, offering personalised guidance and support to enhance their professional development.

7. Know yourself

Authenticity breeds trust. Leaders must possess self-awareness and emotional fortitude to navigate challenges and lead with integrity. 

How? A good way to develop yourself is to undergo regular self-reflection exercises (The Seven Leadership Questions is a good start) and seek feedback from peers and subordinates to deepen your understanding of your leadership style.

Building Block Two: Creating the Framework for Cultural Change 

Cultural transformation is a potent force for driving execution. By aligning beliefs and behaviours with business outcomes, organisations can build accountability and results-oriented performance. Here are key strategies for implementing cultural change:

1. Link rewards to performance

The foundation of cultural change lies in connecting rewards to results. By incentivising behaviours that drive execution, organisations reinforce desired outcomes.

How? Introduce a performance-based bonus system that directly ties financial rewards to individual and team achievements aligned with strategic objectives.

2. Embrace robust dialogue

Open and honest communication is essential for effective execution. Leaders must encourage candid dialogue that promotes information-sharing, critical thinking and decision-making.

How? Host regular meetings where employees are encouraged to ask questions, share feedback, and challenge assumptions in a constructive manner.

3. Drive accountability through social operating mechanisms

Formal and informal channels of communication, such as meetings, metrics, and reporting, serve as the backbone of organisational culture. These mechanisms must reinforce desired behaviors and values.

How? Implement daily team huddles to review progress, resolve issues and achieve alignment. Followed by Weekly and Monthly Management Meetings to go deeper in brainstorming solutions, to create a sense of collective responsibility and ownership

4. Lead by example

Cultural change starts at the top. Leaders must embody the values and behaviours they wish to see in their teams, serving as role models for desired core values..

How? Publicly acknowledge and reward employees who demonstrate behaviours aligned with the company’s values, reinforcing the importance of execution excellence. Positive reinforcement works wonders.

Building Block Three: Having the Right People in the Right Place

The foundation of execution lies in having a talented and capable workforce. Here are critical considerations for ensuring that organisations have the right people in the right roles:

1. Leverage precise selection criteria

Leaders must define clear job requirements and selection criteria based on the skills, competencies, and behaviours necessary for success in each role.

How? Develop a comprehensive job scorecard outlining specific competencies and experiences required for a key leadership position, ensuring alignment with organisational objectives.

2. Demonstrate courage in talent decision

Leaders must have the emotional fortitude to make tough talent decisions, including providing honest feedback, addressing performance issues, and making difficult staffing choices.

How? Initiate candid one-one-one performance discussions with underperforming employees, providing constructive feedback and defining clear agreed improvement plans to support their development.

3. Prioritise personal commitment to people development

Investing in people is paramount to long-term success. Leaders must allocate time and resources to support employee growth, providing opportunities for learning, feedback, and mentorship.

How? Dedicate a significant portion of your schedule to coaching and mentoring high-potential employees, and also emphasising the importance of individual development in driving organisational performance. They should be doing some ongoing professional development themselves – that is when you know you have an ‘A’ player.

Effective execution is not a one-time event but a continuous journey fueled by leadership commitment, cultural alignment, and talent optimisation. By embracing these building blocks, organisations can unlock their full potential and achieve sustainable success in today’s competitive landscape.

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Strategy and Execution Business Advisors and Scaling Up Coaches in Brisbane & Australia


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We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development and strategy execution for more than 20 years. Using business models such as Scaling Up, Exponential Organizations, E-Myth Mastery, Outthinker etc, we support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.

Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.

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