What is your plan for the day?

“No excuses. No explanation. You don’t win on emotion. You win on execution.”

Tony Dungy

To execute, you have to have a plan. Of course, it might be the wrong or even a terrible one, but you must have a plan in mind when you begin each day. The time will pass, the day will end, and when you look back later in life, you will see a series of days well spent pursuing plans that mattered or wasted time and squandered opportunities. I don’t know about you, but the latter certainly makes me emotional. So there are no excuses; get after the day with a plan in mind!

Who is helping you execute your great ideas?

“Ideas are easy. Execution is everything. It takes a team to win.”

John Doerr

“Hey, wouldn’t it be great if…” 

How many great ideas have you had in life? How many initiatives are started but never finished or reached the goal line? Be brutally honest with yourself. Do you wish you could improve your focus and discipline and ensure that the most important things are executed fully?

The key to execution is building a habit of exceptional discipline. While you can do this independently, it is much easier if you have a team to help hold you accountable along the way. So who is on your team, and how are you guaranteeing relentless execution through robust dialogue, feedback, and accountability?  

Do you want to look back in ten years and measure yourself based on how many remarkable initiatives you started or how well you executed the most critical and impactful things?

How often do you look at the scoreboard?

“Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.”

John Doerr

All the ideas, plans, goals, and dreams are meaningless if you can’t turn them into action. 

So, how are you doing with your 2022 goals? Did you have a written plan? Was it broken down into digestible chunks? Are you holding yourself accountable for your performance thus far? If you aren’t where you want to be, what will you do differently between now and March 1st to change your trajectory?

One of the most impactful ways for me to “keep score” on my ability to execute is to break out the results that I am seeking to achieve and relentlessly focus on only those things that matter. In a world of constant attention shift and merciless distraction, having a “scoreboard” that I review daily keeps my mind in the game and focuses my efforts on the next step to bring the plan to life.  

Life is full of people with great ideas. Turning those ideas into meaningful results, that’s where differentiation happens.  

Executing dreams is magic…

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all what the world needs most are dreamers that do.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach

There are those days where it is fun to dream. Imagining what is possible is energizing and exciting. But the most exciting day is where you are working on making those dreams come true. The hours go by like magic and the energy you receive from the work is incredible. There is simply nothing better than working on dreams that matter.

There is no perfect time…

“The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind – jump in.”

Charles R. Swindoll 

One of the great joys of being a parent is watching your children learn and grow. It is incredible to see them lean in and try something new without fear and worry about failure or concerns about their decisions’ long-term repercussions. They never worry about whether the time is right; they just discover and learn.

How do you know when the time is right? Waiting for the perfect moment is just an exercise in waiting; there is no such thing as an ideal time to get started.  

There is an imperfect time, though, and it is “never.” If you aren’t willing to seize the moment, when presented, and go at it will all your gusto and drive, then you are only setting yourself up for future disappointments.  

As the Nike slogan says, “Just do it…”

Make it so…

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

John F. Kennedy

What are the things in your life that you would like to “make happen?” What are you doing to make those become a reality?

If you are waiting for the right moment, the right time, the right inspiration, etc. It will never happen. Take the first step, start the motion, beginning building the momentum that will carry you forward even when the going gets tough. If you want to achieve some great things, you are going to have to make them happen…

action balls black and white illustration
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Paint the picture, dang it…

“Strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.”

Peter Drucker

There isn’t a single painting, sculpture, photograph, or music composition in the world that has ever been “dreamed into existence.” Sure, the artist had to have the vision and see something that no one else could see, but then the magic has to happen.

The real magic and genius of creation is the unique ability to see the future AND have the necessary discipline to DO THE WORK...

Imagine how masterpieces have died because they could never get out of the mind of their creator. Don’t let this be you. Follow this age-old advice. “Plan your work, work your plan…” If you don’t, you aren’t an artist, you are just a fan of dreaming…

nativity painting of people inside a dome
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Time to execute…

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Nelson Mandela

Have you ever been in the situation where things are moving so slowly that it feels like nothing will ever get done? That time drags on and more reasons are found NOT to do something? That the focus has shifted to the negative instead of accomplishing the work that needs to happen?

Look in the mirror and ensure that you are ready to say that “the time for planning, thinking, debating, arguing and talking has passed. It is time to execute.” Hold yourself accountable for creating action, not debating the merits of action.

Execution, not perfection…

“A good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

General George S. Patton

There is no such thing as a perfect plan. Trying to get it just right and waiting until it is perfect means that nothing will ever get done. I’d much rather have a good plan well executed than to wait another minute to try and get something perfect. It just isn’t going to happen. Seeking perfection is the enemy of execution.

10 words or less…

“Greatness is more than potential. It is the execution of that potential. Beyond the raw talent. You need the appropriate training. You need the discipline. You need the inspiration. You need the drive.” 

Eric A. Burns

All the raw talent in the world won’t create a champion. The champions are created in the training room practicing their skills and building on their God given gifts. This takes desire and motivation beyond simply “doing your best.”

What gets you to give the extra 10% that no one is asking for? What motivates you to push beyond what is expected? What drives you to excel?

If you can’t answer this in 10 words or less then keep working on it. It has to be on the tip of your tongue when you wake up, when you go to bed, when you hit hard times, when you lose, and when you win. That’s how you push yourself to get better.

You don’t win on emotion…

“No excuses. No explanation. You don’t win on emotion. You win on execution.” 

Tony Dungy

Execution is everything. Without great execution nothing else really matters. The greatest idea or plan in the world is worthless without relentless execution and a focus on getting the work done.

One thing that stands out for me on this quote is the “you don’t win on emotion” sentence. Emotion can be great fuel for winning and can be a tremendous catalyst for action but it won’t be the reason you win. Without intense focus and direction all the emotion in the world won’t create great execution.

Too often, myself most certainly included, emotion has been an excuse or a “reason” for poor performance. Things like “I am just not passionate about this,” or “my emotions got the best of me” are just excuses for not executing the game play properly.

Look in the mirror. The only person that prevents you from getting the work done is yourself. “No excuses. No explanation. You don’t win on emotion. You win on execution…”

If you want to hear the music, do the work…

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”

Peter Drucker

A great symphony isn’t of any value unless there is an orchestra there to bring it to life. To convert the written notes into the music which fills the air takes tremendous effort, collaboration and direction from many people all aiming for the same thing, to bring to life what is essentially just a written plan.

I don’t know anyone who achieved anything without dedicating themselves to the work necessary to turn their plans into a new reality. There are no free rides in life. Do the work, the hard work, or you won’t be able to hear the music…

Strategy vs. Execution…

“Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”

Morris Chang

I love how this quote frames the importance of both strategy and execution so succinctly.  How do you measure success?  Is it by having great intent, or by achieving great results?   It is the results in life that matter right?  But only if they are created through intentional focus and effort.  Time is going to pass either way, so we better make it count… 

Who’s fault is it?

“You’re a failure as a leader if people sit around waiting for you to tell them what to do.”

Dan Rockwell

Leadership failure happens if you aren’t first asking yourself the question, “what am I doing that is creating or causing this situation?”  The outcome is simply a reflection of leadership choices.  What choices have I made, intentional or not, that are responsible for creating a culture where ownership and accountability is low and “people sit around waiting to be told what to do?”  Leadership starts with self and that means asking yourself tough questions on how you are contributing to the problem.

I might argue that you’re a failure as a leader if you sit around expecting others to have to change, but your not looking to change yourself…

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