The Avoidance Tour: A Path to Success

I was walking my dogs this morning on what we affectionately call “The Avoidance Tour”. You see, there are many dogs in my neighborhood and when I am walking my two together they are difficult to control when they encounter other dogs. They want to play, bark, fight, posture and essentially take me down (together they weigh 20 pounds more than I do)! So, when walking them, I “avoid” any path that is well-traveled by other dog owners.

In this avoidance, I am very conscious of where I am going and the path I am taking to get there. If along the chosen path another dog is on the horizon (a potential obstacle), I may “choose” a different path. But again, it is a very conscious choice and the result is a very enjoyable and peaceful walk – a success!

This afternoon I took them on a less “conscious” walk. As a matter of fact, I had one of those “how did we get all the way over here” moments.  Have you ever had one of those? Like when you are driving home and have no idea what path you took to get there. It was a much different walk. I noticed nothing and enjoyed even less. Actually, what brought me out of my stupor was my big hound diving toward a Shih Tzu! It was clearly an “unconscious” walk.

However, in that moment I realized how many of us do this in life and in our businesses.

In life, we see those people who really do have it all together. They are happy from the inside out. They are consciously living their life. These choose with intention and accept the consequences with responsibility. They have a chosen path. They make adjustments, as needed, but generally follow what they have chosen for themselves.

Choosing a Path

Our business may be a huge success or a simple failure and yet, we have no idea how we got there! We essentially put ourselves on auto-pilot and simply go through the motions of “doing” what we do. There is no path or plan. No way to determine what obstacles are out there or to have a plan for going around the obstacles when they arise. We have created an “unconscious” business.

Then there are those business owners who go down a chosen and well-planned path. Although, it does not guarantee success, it does give them a blueprint for what works and what doesn’t. They have the ability to make timely changes on the path to “avoid” the obstacles as soon as they can “see” them. They can determine their options and consciously decide on their new path. They consciously choose their path and therefore their success.

What’s Your Choice?

Let’s create an Avoidance Tour together. Let’s make conscious choices for our business (or personal life) and consider the consequences. 

Let’s commit to looking at our path, outlining the potential obstacles, and creating a plan (our blueprint) for how we are going to get to where we are going. But first, make sure you know where it is you want to end up and then…. Focus and, of course, execute!   Who’s with me?


Execution as a Strategy

It’s the New Year and we will all be making our New Year’s Resolutions, setting goals, and for many companies, developing a Strategic Plan.  What is interesting is how often we set goals, priorities, or a plan and well, it just doesn’t work out.  How many of us ask ourselves: “What happened?”

What is the one aspect of goal-setting or strategic planning that is ignored, but matters most?  You guessed it!  EXECUTION

The planning is the fun part.  We all get together and brainstorm to come up with a GREAT plan for 2014.  We get really motivated by the plan and can’t wait to move forward.  We write it down; we project out financials, and then (hopefully) communicate it to the entire staff.  Everyone is excited. People are high-fiving in the hallways and patting each other on the back.  This plan is really going to work.  We will be rolling in success.  Woo Hoo!!!!!!

Then….crickets….business as usual.

Here’s the problem.  We need an Execution (of Strategy) Plan.  I know…that does not sound like any fun! But, without it, very few companies will actually be able to reap the rewards of their strategy (or their goals or their plan).  It’s true…

…Think about what is missing when you set personal goals.

Think about what happens in a business when there is a great idea and nothing is done to implement the idea.

…Think about how many “inventions” you have had in your head that have never made it out of your head

What is missing in all these scenarios:  EXECUTION.

So, how do you create an Execution Plan, you ask? It’s not simple, it is, however, straight – forward.  There are thousands of pages written on the subject, so it’s obviously not simple. However, nothing that is worth it ever is.  So, roll-up your sleeves, and consider the following:

  1. Is the Strategic Plan clear and aligned with the company’s goals, mission and vision?
  2. Has the Strategic Plan been communicated to the entire staff?
  3. Is there buy-in from the leadership and management?
  4. Is there a strong foundation (processes, systems, policies, people) to support the plan?

If you can answer “Yes” to the above, then let’s move on to the “simplistic view” –  Execution of the plan:

  1. Define the objectives required to support each aspect of the plan
  2. Define the tasks required to ensure the Objectives are met
  3. Assign the tasks to the appropriate department; manager; staff member
  4. Align Performance Reviews with company Strategy, Objectives, and supporting tasks
  5. Develop incentive plans that are aligned with the Executables that support the company’s Strategy

This is what I know for sure:  Execution requires Accountability.  If you do not have an Accountable or Execution-oriented culture, you will have your work cut out for you.  I promise, making changes will be worth it. Stay tuned for the next blog:  The Accountable Culture

{Note:  Subjects in this blog may appear more simplistic than they truly are…but I try to keep them to 500 words or less.  I have lots of resources, though, if you want more details.  Just let me know!}