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Is Execution More Important Than Planning?

There has been much written about how important execution is to whether a company thrives; however, superstar team leaders know that strategic planning is every bit as important, and that planning before executing is one of the ultimate keys to success! This video illustrates the concept of planning before executing brilliantly.

There are essentially two camps on this issue, those who want to “git ‘er done” and those who realize the need to set goals and evaluate processes. There is room, and need, for both types in every organization.

Importance of Planning Before Executing

Proper planning means that your team is firing on all cylinders: they know what they’re supposed to do and why they’re doing it a certain way.

Planning and execution balance
The proper balance of planning and execution ensures that a team is firing on all four cylinders; they know what they are doing, how they should do it, and why they are doing it in this particular way. Without good planning beforehand, they may go through the motions without much thought given to the overall picture.

As Ken Favaro, a Senior Partner with Booz & Company writes, “You need a good strategy to have good execution. Yes, having a good strategy alone isn’t enough to win, but your ability to execute well depends on how good your strategy is and how well it’s understood by everyone who makes major decisions for your business.”

Execution spells out what needs to be done to fulfill the strategy. Many excellent strategic plans fail because not everyone is fully committed to the strategy, reminiscent of the old saying, “Make sure everybody in your boat is rowing in the same direction.” Without total commitment of management, and your entire team, you may find yourself stuck in place.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
An organization’s strategic plan often starts with a thorough SWOT analysis, and naturally flows into methodology and actions to implement the strategy that arises from this thorough self-assessment.

The team leader’s key importance in the planning process is his or her ability to effectively communicate the purpose and scope of the strategy, as well as benchmarks for the team to hit to align execution. In simple terms, tell them what they should do, why it’s important to the overall mission, and what’s in it for them (WIIFM).

Today’s data reporting abilities make possible continuous feedback that you can use to tweak execution and maximize results of the strategy. Keeping your team constantly updated with results reinforces their commitment.

Planning for an organization should enable your team to deliver positive results that are also sustainable for the long-term. Good strategic planning is crucial to generate efficiencies of scale, maximize profits, and show internal and external customers that you know exactly what you are doing and why.