Experience on Demand

Casual Factors Affecting Execution

Steve Finkelstein

There are many factors that can affect execution.  These factors can work independently or together. They can affect large, medium or small organizations. They are non-discriminatory. However, identifying the factors that affect execution in your company is the first step in overcoming obstacles that prevent you from implementing strategies. Listed below are the most common factors affecting execution in businesses today. As you review this list, identify the top three factors that most affect your corporation. What actions do you need to take to address these issues?

  • Allocation of Resources (People and Money). How are employees assigned to projects? Are they the ones with the right skills and experience to handle the tasks? Do they have the time available? Are the appropriate budgeted dollars allocated to the projects to achieve the desired quality outcomes in a timely manner?

  • Action Plans. Is there a comprehensive action plan complete with tasks, due dates and responsible parties? Does the action plan list both high-level goals and specific tasks that need to be accomplished? Is there a realistic deadline for completing tasks? Does the action plan cover both short-term and long-term goals for the duration of the project? Are there interim milestones so that progress can be tracked? 

  • Goals. Are the goals clear and measureable? Are there sub-goals within each goal? Are the goals realistic? Are there specific tasks assigned to support each goal? Are those tasks assigned to specific people? Are follow-up plans in place to determine the effectiveness of the goals? Are the goals comprehensive without being overwhelming?

  • Accountability. How are employees held accountable for project results?  Are project results directly tied to performance evaluations and compensation? Are unsatisfactory results revisited with an alternate plan? Are there team-based as well as individual-based goals? What are the consequences if the project does not meet the timing, quality and budgeted expectations?

  • Measures. Are too many measures in place? Are not enough measures in place? Are there both lead indicators and lag measures? Are the measures comprehensive, expanding beyond merely financial ones? Are the measures tracked? 

  • Focus. Are the priorities clear? Are there too many projects competing with each other? Are the tasks and projects aligned? Are employees spread too thin? What are the 20% of the projects that make up 80% of the success? Are those 20% fully supported with resources?

  • Daily Job Responsibilities. Are employees spending time on important vs. urgent tasks? Is there a climate in which employees feel overwhelmed and cannot focus on their “real” jobs? Do they have a “stop doing” list?

  • Expectations. Are expectations clearly understood, documented and realistic? Is the organization ready to execute the strategies? In its current state, canyour company execute the strategies? 

  • Executive Sponsorship. Is senior leadership commitment to the project visible? Does the project appear on the goals and strategic priorities of the executives? Do their actions speak louder than their words? Do they have invested interest that is tied to a tangible result for them?

  • Communication. Has the strategy been clearly and effectively communicated? Is there honest two-way communication throughout the execution of the strategy? Are you asking for candid feedback as the strategy is executed? Are you listening to it? 

  • Project Management. Do employees have the necessary tools in place to execute the strategy? Are the right people with the right experience completing the right tasks? Is there a company-wide focus on executing your strategy? Is there a process in place for execution? How are plans tracked and reported?

  • Decision Making. Is there a clearly understood decision-making process in place? Has the information needed to make the decision been defined and shared? Does your organization suffer from analysis paralysis? What are the major reasons for indecisiveness in your organization? Does your company have a culture that makes fact-based decisions?