When the rubber hits the road – Strategy vs Execution

As a leader of a team or an organization, there are always too many competing priorities demanding our time and attention to effectively manage and figure out what we should be focusing on. This article is about getting back to basics - the building blocks that helped you to get where you are today. Have you experienced coming out of a strategic planning meeting and your head is spinning with new goals and you are left wondering how you are going to achieve those objectives? And a few months later, how do you make sure that you're tracking to meeting those goals? Do you feel like panicking as you read this? Relax and read on.

In this day and age of technology and speed, we get overwhelmed by too much data contrasted by how slow the right information gets to us. How do we solve for this problem? It's all about getting back to basics. In working with hundreds of business leaders over the past 20+ years, I have learned key management tenets that I always refer to. These are simple principles that are still relevant despite the changes in technology trends:

1. Follow the money (Alignment): Another way of thinking about this is ensuring that you focus on the big bets that the organization is allocating your budgets against. This doesn't mean that you should be a sheep and follow everyone else. This means that these are the big goals that the leadership team has identified and a good indicator that you should be spending your time, resources and budget toward solving for these high priorities.
2. Measuring: This is all about tracking your investments. This is when the 'rubber hits the road' comes in play. Without tracking the progress, we often get side-tracked with daily activities and 'fires'. And when we look back, we did not realize how far off we moved away from our plan. There should not be any excuses for not tracking progress.
3. Simplify: You don't need a lot of processes or complex tools to track all these initiatives. In fact, when we over-complicate it, we forget the basics, get overwhelmed and stop doing the right things - Align and Measure.

If you focus on these key principles - Align, Measure and Simplify (ASM or SAM if you like mnemonics), you will be able to focus on the right things and know what to do at the right time. As leaders of your organization, you need to get back to basics and help your team to achieve results that matter.

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