Leadership – 8 Steps for Developing the Will to Execute

Many teams that I come into contact with seem to drop the ball when it comes to execution. They always start with great intentions and great plans, but aren’t able to pull off that project or product launch as planned. What’s often missing is the will to execute.

Let’s face it, without effective execution, projects are doomed for failure or at a minimum destined to never achieve their full potential. Here are 8 steps to help you develop your team’s will to execute.

  1. As a leader, you need to be personally involved in each of the following steps. Don’t short change your team by losing focus or not giving this initiative your full attention. If you lose interest, so will they. Show them how committed you are by being there and checking on the team’s progress every step of the way. Communicate the importance of this initiative and what it will mean to customer service, productivity, employee satisfaction, or the bottom line. Make the outcome matter to them.
  2. Involve the right people. Know who can help you get this project done and who could get in the way. Involve both types. By making sure those who could become obstacles are involved will keep you better informed and insure they have skin in the game. Involve them in helping to guide the project or assign them a role within the project. Make sure those that can affect the outcome of your project have skin in the game.
  3. Appoint a capable project leader with real passion for the cause. You want your first few initiatives to be successful, so there are times when passion for the cause is required to keep people’s attention and keep your team engaged. You don’t want the team thrown off track at the first obstacle. Passion will help the team focus and overcome obstacles.
  4. Develop a project plan with clear assignments and deadlines. You need to be able to answer who will do what and by when. Know what the key dependencies are. If “A” doesn’t happen in a timely manner, how does it affect “B”? If one or two action items can delay or derail your project you best be paying close attention to those items. Know what the critical dependencies and pay special attention to them.
  5. Meet weekly with the team to track progress. Discuss resource challenges, obstacles, roadblocks, what’s working and what isn’t. Be an advocate for helping the team accomplish the project on time and on budget.
  6. Celebrate key milestones. By recognizing team members for their contribution and creativity in getting their part done you will motivate others to do the same.
  7. Be available as needed for the project lead. They may need your help in navigating team politics or difficult relationships. This is a great time to be a coach and mentor to the project leader. Remember, if this goes well, they will be the first to sign up for the next project as well.
  8. Once completed, do a project review with the entire team. Discuss what went well, what didn’t go well, and what should you do different next time. Take the time to capture lessons learned. Make sure to pull this out before you do the next project and help that team avoid making the same mistakes.

These 8 steps will help you increase your teams will to execute. Not only will they get the project done, but get it done the right way and for maximum results. Turn execution into a discipline for your team.

If you need help with execution, contact Tim to start making Visible Progress today!