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Strategy is necessary, but execution is everything

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February 24, 2023

Think about the most successful leaders you know.

What are the top three leadership characteristics they have that make them successful?

Being strategic/visionary is likely one of the top three qualities.

However, from my experience, the most successful leaders are great at getting things done through others – they excel at execution, every day.

One of the most common techniques successful leaders use to get a lot done is to create a rhythm or cadence in their organization – which ensures effective communication and execution through a set of efficient and focused meetings.

Think about it.

We regularly schedule all sorts of check-ups and tune-ups – like your annual physical or changing the oil in your car, for example.

It only makes sense we’d create a cadence to check up on the status of the most important factors of our businesses’ success: execution of our plan. 

A common complaint team members with new clients share with me is that communication is ineffective in their organization.

Meetings are inconsistent, and if they are held, they drag on too long, and teams struggle to get to decisions and action.
So, what will your execution cadence be?

What rhythm will you adopt to maintain effective communication and ensure the action plans and commitments are getting done?

Successful leaders meet consistently with their teams.

Your execution cadence may be uniquely tailored to your business.

However, based upon best practices from working with thousands of organizations, I recommend the following collaborative events/meetings to excel at execution:
Leadership team meeting – A weekly leadership team meeting builds team cohesiveness, resolves internal or customer issues and sets priorities for the coming week that each leadership team member communicates to their teams across the organization. A business is only as effective as its leadership team, which makes this meeting essential to great execution.Plan execution meeting – This is one of the most important internal meetings to excel at execution. We usually see this meeting happening monthly or every two weeks. The primary focus of this meeting is to ensure all team members are getting the action plans done they committed to.Sprint meeting – With the world changing faster than ever, having an agile planning process that can adapt and pivot quickly is essential to excelling at execution. That is why more and more leaders are moving to execute their plans in sprints (every three to four months). Every sprint, the leadership team has a half-day, off-site session to assess and update the plan as well as set the goals for the next sprint. Every executed sprint is another step toward achieving your vision.Company meeting – The final one of the four meetings we see most is with all team members – the company meeting. Either virtual or in-person, this meeting is essential to excelling at execution because it engages and energizes all team members in working “on” the business. This interactive event is held after the sprint meeting, so all team members have clarity on how well they executed in the last sprint. But more importantly, it provides clarity on the goals and priorities for the next four-month sprint. Clarity across the organization leads to better execution of the strategy and talent plan. Everyone makes better decisions when they know where they are going. 
So, evaluate the meetings you currently have, and if they’re ineffective, irregularly scheduled or inefficient, implement an execution cadence.

There are other meetings organizations hold consistently that can also be added to your execution cadence.

An execution cadence can be incredibly effective at turning a strategy and talent plan into reality.

At the last company I ran, we kept our cadence for more than five years.

The leadership team met every Monday morning and then held their department meetings every Tuesday morning.

Our sales jumped from $5 million to $8 million in our first year, and $8 million to $15 million in our second year, ultimately growing from $5 million to $30 million over that five-year span.

I fully credit our execution cadence for delivering our strategy and talent plan and achieving victory.

Not only can your cadence create a culture of consistent and efficient communication, but it can also create a culture of discipline and accountability.

We know accountability can often be a source of conflict within organizations, and that many natural behavioral styles prefer to avoid confrontation.

Getting into the rhythm with an execution cadence can help.

Finally, an execution cadence can create a winning culture.

When you’re accomplishing all the goals you agreed to take on as an organization, your weeks will consist of regular victories and stacked successes, which can lead to your ultimate victory: achieving your three-year vision. 

Steve Van Remortel is Founder/CEO of MyTalentPlanner, Chief Strategist & Talent Advisor at Stop the Vanilla, LLC and is a r, trainer, advisor and 3x author. speaker, trainer, advisor and three-time author.

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