Barriers to Execution

barriers310It is difficult today to focus and execute. I like what I heard from a client the other day, “We like working with AscendWorks. While others talk, you guys do. We need more doers, not talkers.” I thought that captured a great essence on what can easily differentiate those who thrive in the new economy and I was grateful to hear the compliment.

Any accomplishment requires action. Action that is not focused and strategic is just busyness. If you are in the busy business today, you are becoming irrelevant. Our patience and attention are too short compared to previous decades. If you want to be in the execution business in order to become more valuable and attractive, focus on the following:

  1. Purge: Get rid of anything that is not useful. This includes emails, tools, gadgets, software, etc. Anything extra has to be managed by your mind and attention. It clutters your brain and detracts from execution.
  2. Focus On Readiness: You cannot plan perfectly. You just know that there are customers to react to and problems to solve. They are coming more unpredictably and with intensity today because of how easy it is to push work onto each other. There is less friction involved in our communications, thus we have more things to pay attention to. It is best to set yourself up to be ready for the 200 emails, 5 emergencies and 8 crises this week.
  3. Think Action: As a knowledge worker, your job is to turn information into action. It is going from the conceptual to the concrete. When I was in grad school, I learned a lot about transforms – taking a complex equation and transforming it into another form to make problem solver easier. You must work hard at transforming complex problems into simple actions. Practice and pay attention. The opportunity is there every day.
  4. Minimize Noise, Maximize Signal: There are important pieces to getting results and there are irrelevant pieces. It’s likely that 10% of your customers create too many problems. Dismiss them. There are likely businesses to get out of or products to discontinue. Get candid with yourself and call noise what it is and get rid of it in your work and life. It will align you to what is important.

See how many people recognize you or your team as getting things done. Being known for execution is one of the highest value pieces to play today. Aligning teams towards this end is a difficult challenge, but a necessary one in order to remain relevant. You will either be labeled a talker or doer. Your ability to apply these pieces will determine your value.

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