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Got your party hat ready? It’s almost time to bid adieu to 2010!

At the dawn of 2011, millions of Americans will make resolutions to get rid of bad habits and adopt new, healthy ones.

Many business leaders also use this time to outline plans and goals for what they hope to achieve in the New Year. In a way, the concept is similar to personal New Year resolutions – the idea that the New Year can bring optimism and new opportunities for growth and development.

However, just as it can be difficult to maintain a personal New Year’s resolution, the same can be said for executing a strategy in business.

One survey found that 49 percent of business leaders perceived a gap between strategy and execution; 64 percent lacked confidence in their company’s ability to narrow it, according to

In 2011, business leaders and managers should aim to close the gap between strategy and execution. Here are a few rules to follow.

Clearly Define the Desired End Result

The big problem with going from idea to implementation is a lack of clearly defined vision and goals. Leaders who do not define what they want to accomplish can hardly expect others to understand their strategy. Remember, that we usually get what we expect. If you have unclear expectations, that’s probably what you will get from others! Define your expectations, and establish measureable outcomes for each objective.

Stay in Control of Details

A key management skill is to keep the work moving along to achieve the team’s deliverables. Effective managers monitor performance without being too controlling of how the work is accomplished. Find the balance of exercising reasonable accountability while still allowing enough breathing room for employees to do their best work.

Listen to Feedback

Leaders can’t afford to be surrounded by “yes men” who refuse to tell the truth about problems as they occur. Listening to the perspective of others is vital for those in management positions. It is practically important to listen to the feedback from others about your own behavior, and to use it to change and improve your performance. Be sure to ask for feedback that is performance related.

Share the Credit for Success

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to cultivate good interpersonal relations with your co-workers. Leaders need to remember to always give credit when it’s due. Failure to do so may cause employees to become resentful, and resentful employees will be less likely to execute your vision at a high level. It is just a simple matter to say, “Well done” or “Nice job” to a person who contributes to your team’s performance.

This is our last blog post of 2010 – we look forward to connecting again in 2011!