Byron's Babbles

Chief Execution Officer

2016-01-23 09.11.31One of most frustrating challenges leaders are faced with today is closing what is commonly known as the execution gap (or sometimes the strategy gap). The execution gap is a perceived gap between a company’s strategies and expectations and its ability to meet those goals and put ideas into action. In Lesson #46 entitled “Avoid the Dangerous Gap between Good Ideas and Execution” in The Disciplined Leader, John Manning (2015) explained, “As a Disciplined Leader, it’s your job to become curious but also cautious about good ideas. That starts with discerning the ideas and solutions introduced by your people, making those hard decisions about whether to say yes or no to them. Good ideas don’t mean anything unless your organization is capable of executing them.” (Kindle Locations 2382-2384). Due to the complexity of people, businesses, and the societal constructs in which we operate, it is more difficult than it might seem at first glance to close this gap.

“So whenever any new concept or strategy is put on the table, assess the gap between its good intent and your team’s core ability to implement and execute it.” ~ John Manning

Leaders must become Chief Execution Officers. Great leaders do not relegate and that is the idea behind becoming a Chief Execution Officer instead of a Chief Executive Officer. Relegation is very different than delegation. Relegation is just pushing work to others. By not relegating the execution of strategy, the Chief Execution Officer can achieve consensus and commitment across the task force responsible for the implementation, establish and preserve the integrity of the strategy, and engage the work force. If done correctly, this approach and these achievements can greatly improve performance of the strategy. Unlike a traditional CEO, the Chief Execution Officer gets involved in the details of strategy execution by: translating the strategy into measurable objectives, sharing the story of the strategy with internal and external audiences, establishing a feedback system, and by aligning the reward and recognition system with strategy. Since leaders need the effort of others, they must be able to effectively communicate to them what they want done and, more importantly, why they want to do it. A big problem with going from idea to implementation is simply a lack of clearly defined vision and goals. Leaders who cannot define what they want accomplished can hardly expect others to understand their strategy and participate in their projects with any level of meaningful contribution.

I am a big believer in forming task forces to take on implementation and execution of initiatives and to study needed changes. I am also a believer their are times I need to own doing a major part of the heavy lifting in some of those task forces. A big mistake many leaders make is relegating to others and this can be problematic from a couple of different angles. First, many times the leader relegating is seen as someone who passes everything to those he sees as being under him. This is not being a servant leader and leaders who do this quickly lose the trust and respect of those he serves. Secondly, many times others just don’t have the knowledge and skill that you do as the Chief Execution Officer. The task force provides a team that can develop consensus and communicate to others about the strategy and is an important prerequisite for successful execution of initiatives and change. Careful selection of task force members is important to achieve effective cross-functional integration. Leaders who resist this type of consensus can undermine successful execution and implementation.

Implementation and execution really become part of an organization and become part of the leader’s mantra. Think about it; you know leaders who get things done and those who never seem to be able to finish. Implementation is not just something that does or doesn’t get done; it is not just a tactic, and it is not something to be relegated. Execution should be a central part of a organization’s strategy and goals and the most important part  of what any leader does. What are you preparing to implement in the near future?


One Response

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  1. elevatedthinkingsite said, on May 4, 2016 at 3:51 am

    Great post, great leaders lead by example not through fear


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