Management today is largely about making things happen – which includes anticipating and taking advantage of change wherever it occurs – e.g., changing consumer tastes, changing technologies, changing competitive environments, changing internal dynamics. It is important to have institutional mechanisms and practices that can help you anticipate change and to be ready when the change occurs.
Execution is also about making the right things happen – and that is about leadership. A leader is not unlike a chef who cooks a meal. Consider a situation where a chef and I shop at the same grocery or farmers’ market. We both buy the same ingredients: lettuce, celery, onions, tomatoes, lemons, chicken breast, bacon, cheese, etc. When we get back to our kitchens, the chef and I are free to follow our own taste in what we cook. I can assure you that even with exactly the same ingredients, the meal that I prepare will be very different from what the chef creates. The leader of an organization makes a difference in what is achieved – just as different chefs working with the same ingredients will produce different outcomes. Success is not about the ingredients or the technology, it is about how a team executes with those basic ingredients. In the media-comms space where I have worked, everyone has DSL, 3G, LTE, fiber-optics, and related technologies. Execution is about results and the ability to execute to good results will reflect the vision, knowledge, leadership skills, and temperament of the leader – whether it is the CEO or the project leader.
Examples of executing to deliver include: