How’s Your Execution? Are You Running a Tight Ship or a Sloppy Schooner?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On August 3, 2018

Business leaders often think that if they have a great idea; hire the right people, and have adequate financing that they are on their way to guaranteed growth and success. All of those things are important. I’m constantly writing and talking about the importance of hiring the right people. There is a component, however, that many leaders overlook: Execution. If you’re not efficient and effective you’re not going to see the kind of growth you want. How’s your execution? Are you running a tight ship or a sloppy schooner?

I recently came across something in an article on LinkenIn by Josh Bersin—a leading industry analyst—that caught my eye.

As I’ve talked about with many companies, global productivity is slowing, which means we’re creating jobs, hiring people, but getting a little less done per hour each year. I think this is caused by many factors (commute time, poor infrastructure, and also re-engineering of work practices), but ultimately it shows a “sloppiness” in the way we run our companies. Why? We are in such a rush to “grow” and hire people to meet demand, we don’t always have time to really re-engineer what we’re doing to become more efficient.

What Does It Mean to Run a Tight Ship?
To grow and scale up your business you really have to change the way you look at productivity. It’s essential that you have clearly defined production goals—and a means to accurately and regularly monitor progress. Part of that monitoring process means having clearly delineated responsibilities.  I’m not talking about finger pointing. I’m talking about having the ability to clearly identify inefficient processes or shortcomings. When it’s clear who owns the responsibility, then you can step in as a leader and help solve the problem.

What Running a Tight Ship Doesn’t Mean
Too often leadership takes the approach that discipline and “running a tight ship” means having zero tolerance for failure. That’s not realistic. Failure happens in business. People make mistakes. Sometimes employees fall short of corporate goals. As a leader, your responsibility is to ensure that goals, procedures, and responsibilities (including productivity/execution) are correct—and that they are clearly spelled out. When you do that you can take corrective steps. That’s the kind of leadership that attracts the right people in the first place!

A tightly run ship and a sloppy schooner will both run into rough waters on occasion. The sloppy schooner is likely to flounder, wander off course, or even sink. The tightly run ship, however, is more likely to arrive at its goal—with the crew intact!

Is your company growing the way you think it should? If not, I’d encourage you to click on the orange “Assessment” button below and take five minutes to find out what might be holding you back. One of the areas this assessment looks at is how you’re doing in terms of execution. It’s a good first step to addressing hindrances to growth.

Photo illustration courtesy of Comfreak