Julie Zhuo

Bad execution is when you try something that fails and a) you can’t really draw lessons out of that failure that would apply to a future project (because you don’t know why it failed) or b) it took you a year to learn a particular lesson when a smarter path would have let you learn the same thing in 3 months.

Dan Simpson

Capabilities are […] the conduit between strategy and execution, and a failure to assess capabilities objectively is often at the root of execution problems. What, in retrospect, is ascribed to poor execution instead has its roots in an unexpectedly large gap between a company’s capabilities and the ones needed to deliver the strategy successfully. This gap exists, in part, because of another mismatch: between the … [ Read more ]

John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen

Most businesses accept design as inherited. The business model, pricing, functions, sales pitch, deal structure—nearly everything—is treated as predefined by the existing models, costs, and pricing that already exist in the company and/or the industry. Idea generation is viewed as the creative part, and execution as standard. If a company has a design sensibility at all, it applies almost exclusively to the sensory elements we … [ Read more ]

Kevin Kelly

The antidote for too much knowledge is execution. Why? Execution helps to work through fear and build confidence. Knowledge will always give you enough reasons not to act. Execution is taking the next step in spite of that knowledge.

Tom Landry

Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.

Ralph Welborn

There are the T-shirts (operations), the turtlenecks (marketing), and the suits (executive management). The language they use, their perspectives and how they prioritize is fundamentally different. So you’ve got to bridge that disconnect to get the alignment and executional consistency critical to agility.

Ken Favaro, Evan Hirsh and Kasturi Rangan

Any seasoned strategist knows that strategy is not just sloganeering. It is the series of choices you make on where to play and how to win to maximize long-term value. Execution is producing results in the context of those choices. Therefore, you cannot have good execution without having good strategy.

Jim Collins

Creativity is natural and abundant, the natural human state. We are creative beings. Being creative is not the hard part. The hard part is figuring out how to marry creativity to discipline so that the discipline amplifies the creativity, rather than squelching it. Truly great entrepreneurs do not just have a great idea (and often, they copy their ideas from others). … [ Read more ]

Mike Myatt

The pursuit of perfection is one of great adversaries of speed, performance, and execution.

Henry Cloud

In business, everybody always thinks it is about finding the ‘right’ idea, or the ‘right’ plan. The truth is that there are five ‘right’ ideas or plans. The real issue is getting oneself and others to be able to execute it and negotiate all of the people issues along the way.

Donald Sull

Execution requires four distinct types of conversations: making sense of volatile situations; deciding what to do, not do, or stop doing; soliciting and monitoring commitments to deliver; and making corrections midcourse.

Robert S. Kaplan

Quality and process improvement programs are like teaching people how to fish. Strategy maps and scorecards teach people where to fish.

James E. Ashton, Frank X. Cook Jr., and Paul Schmitz

Corporate strategy can guide acquisitions, divestitures, and market and product development efforts outside the scope of individual business units. But the importance of corporate strategy is often overrated…That’s because operational excellence at the business-unit level is fundamental to our prescription for success.

Howard Anderson

Innovation isn’t the key to economic growth. Management is the key to economic growth. Companies that rely too heavily on creativity flame out. In many ways, execution is more important.

Chip R. Bell

There is value in careful planning and thoughtful preparation. However, until there is execution, no plan is flawed; no preparation inadequate. Execution spotlights all. Cultures can get enamored with the preliminaries since there are no consequences.

Lawrence Hrebiniak

Related to execution is integration. People gain knowledge in buckets. For example, if you’re a marketing person, the whole world becomes a marketing problem. Because of this, we need more integration. We need someone with a perspective, someone who understands various functions and parts of the company. The ability to integrate is essential to execution, and managers who can do this are very tough to … [ Read more ]

David K. Hurst

This implementation problem is common in many fields. Studying the history of art, for example, does not teach you how to create great art: It just helps you appreciate why it’s great. Your studies may heighten your perception and stoke your enthusiasm to emulate the work of the masters, but you are still a long way from producing a great work. Similarly, the analysis of … [ Read more ]

Geoffrey Moore

A large number of execution problems are really direction problems.

Robert S. Kaplan

Consistent alignment of capabilities and internal processes with the customer value proposition is the core of any strategy execution.

Larry Bossidy

The trouble is there are too many companies that basically believe in socialism. They give stock options to everybody, give pay increases that are the same to everybody within the same salary scale. If you don’t differentiate, you can’t possibly be an execution company! And if you don’t single out for reward the people who get things done for you, then you won’t keep the … [ Read more ]