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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Execution Matters in This Downturn Economy

Most companies have already revised their budgets to account for the expected tough economy in 2009. Many have even revised certain goals, strategies and methods of using their limited resources.

Estimates vary as to the length of this downturn. Guesses as to the depth of the downturn also vary, depending on the industry involved. But what does not vary is the surety of its existence and its impact on your company or organization.

There is a proverb that says "A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." We can not fail to build and execute plans to build our "refuge." To run our business as usual would be a huge mistake.

In many ways, your ability to successfully negotiate this economy will not merely rest on your new budget, goals or strategies. It will rest on your execution.

We must excel in having strong contingency plans in place, with "automatic triggers" which engage when certain events happen. An example of a trigger mechanism functioning might be: If sales by the 15th of any month fall below "x", than automatically our sales team does "a, b and c" and our operations staff does "m, n and o." Those thought-out triggers take the emotion out of the decision-making process. They allow swift plans to be executed.

Execution requires some front-end work. It requires that you have written your contingency plan with the best information and analysis you can get your hands on. It is empowered by measurable goals which are systematically audited. Remember, "people correct what you inspect."

Talk is cheap in these times. Nice goals and mission statements alone will not help. What we need is to be excellent executers of the plans we develop. Good ideas from good people are ok. But they don't hold a candle to the person who can execute a plan.


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