You know eating healthy and hitting the gym is healthy for you, you know that you are overweight and this is going to help you get back in shape. You kick off the new year with zeal and enthusiasm which lasts only a few days, only for you to regret paying that annual gym fee.
The same applies to learning. In this era of continuous learning, we make promises to ourselves keeping the end goal of a better job, or a promotion in mind, just to realize that we again start straying after a while. We purchase a dozen books on the first day of January, just to keep them in the bookshelf (there is actually a word for it called Tsundoku).
Now let us consider a situation when a client comes in with a target to hit. You pitch some strategies, more often to impress the client and save your butt rather than looking at the practicality of the same. You raise the client’s expectations and more often than not leave the client high and dry, just like your failed new year resolution, but only here the effect is not localized but has many other stakeholders involved.
Why does this happen? Why are we not able to stick to the promises we make personally and professionally?
The answer is extremely simple – we suck at execution! We look at the end goal and without actually breaking things down into simpler digestible steps we try to bite more than what we can chew, the end result – failure and disappointment.
After working for more than a decade, we have realized that the majority of the people are above average at building a strategy, and barely 10% are capable of pulling it off. It’s this 10 % that is pure gold and the rest is sheer dross.
So, the question is, how can one transition from the only strategy to strategy + execution? Here are a few tips that help:
Break down the target to smaller manageable tasks. Do not confuse this with micromanagement, stay away from that, but break down your tasks into a series of steps. Consider the case that you have an end of goal of reducing your weight by 15 pounds. Is that something that you can achieve in a small duration – NO, better concentrate on maintaining a calorie deficit every day combined with the exercise which will eventually lead you to lose those pounds. Same with your work, being able to generate a revenue of $5 million for a client needs to be broken down on a daily basis (and various other parameters)
Find ways to measure the impact of your task or activity: If something cannot be tracked or measured, then you are doing it wrong. Consider the previous point, how will you measure your calorie deficit without actually knowing the number of calories you are supposed to consume and what you actually consume. Same with your revenue numbers.
You need to A/B test a lot of time. Some diets work for you, some don’t. Some exercise routine work for you, some don’t. Similarly, some strategies + executions might fail, but you need to keep testing them and have clearly measurable benchmarks against which you would take a call.
Execution is not for your juniors. Is someone else going to work out for you? No, then why do you delegate implementation completely to your juniors? Not being a part of the execution strategy can potentially be the biggest mistake we have seen across all levels. Execution is hard and demanding and moving up the hierarchy does not mean that you delegate all of it to juniors or outsource it. Your problem-solving skills will go away and trust me it is very difficult to get them back.
Keep learning as you move along. The secret of keeping your problem-solving skills sharp is constantly learning. With a lot of quality online content available at fingertips along with recognized certificates and/or degrees, the opportunity should be leveraged. Whatever new learnings are gathered in theory should be put into practice at work. This is one of the best ways to keep yourself ahead of the curve.
Accountability is key. Holding yourself responsible for both success as well as failure is important. If you set goals, they can be measured. Either you hit the milestones, or you don’t; there are seldom shades of gray here. You should hold yourself accountable for meeting or not meeting client targets as well. Associating success or failure with corresponding rewards or penalties can often help in accountability providing encouragement. Running a digital marketing agency in Philadelphia and New Delhi, we understand how important this can be.
So, what are your goals for yourself or your clients this year? Let us know in the comments