Balancing the Elements of Success

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The Elements of Success

Success, whether for your business or your product line or your website, inevitably depends on the balancing of two elements: intention and execution. Likewise, each of these elements can be broken down into two sub-elements.

  • Intention: Have you selected good goals and have you developed comprehensive plans?
  • Execution: Do you have the capabilities needed to execute the plan and do you have sufficient capacity?

Questions to Ponder

Although this structure seems painfully obvious, I am amazed at how often companies and their leaders fail to properly answer some basic questions.

  • Goals: Are your goals even close to being realistic? Look at how often companies attempt “double digit” growth or significant mergers or acquisitions and knowingly ignore the terrible track record of others who have tried and failed. We love the idea of “stretch goals” but all too often we stretch our organizations beyond reason.
  • Plans: How good are you at detailed project planning? Plans and strategies inevitably come down to identifying a portfolio of projects that have to be accomplished in order to reach the goal we have set. But, once again, we have to be realistic. I have been involved with projects and have taught project leadership workshops for many years. And in all of these years I have never come across a company that brags that their projects are always on-time, in-budget, and result in full-scope accomplishments. I would love to say that these companies fail because of causes beyond their control. However, the truth is that they often replace good planning with desire and slogans.
  • Capabilities: Do we have the smarts to pull this off? If your future is going to be an extension of your past, then your existing set of capabilities should easily take you into the future. But let’s be honest. How many of today’s marketing departments really understand the power (and differences) of “mobile?” Or how many HR executives have the right experience when it comes to dealing with a virtual workforce. The future does not look like the past, so don’t try to “make do” with your organization’s existing set of capabilities.
  • Capacity: Where is the talent bottleneck?  The brutal truth is that many companies have spent the past fifteen years trying to live the “lean and mean” lifestyle but have become anorexic instead. Furthermore, many companies take a myopic view of their resources and neglect to see how many projects depend on the same talented people.

It’s a Balancing Act

Facing the challenge of business success requires the will to balance the four elements of success. Great intentions without the ability to execute are nothing more than words. Alternatively, you may have the ability to execute but it will atrophy unless it is challenged.

Spend some time and engage in some brutally honest conversations and bring the elements into balance before proceeding.

About Bill Welter

Bill Welter is the president of Adaptive Strategies, Inc., a small business that specializes in the application of critical and strategic thinking for business leaders and professionals. Bill has written four books, conducts workshops, and coaches. Click here for an overview of Adaptive Strategies, Inc.

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