This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a Leadership Camp hosted by Procter & Gamble. While the camp was targeted at current undergrad students and MBA candidates, the information shared is applicable to all individuals, no matter their level. To kick off the event, the keynote speaker (a VP for P&G’s North American Paper business) shared his thoughts on leadership. While he covered several areas, an overall theme of his presentation centered on Execution.
We often hear or read thoughts on Leadership that stress ‘Vision’ are an important element – which it is. But without excellent Execution, Vision will never be fulfilled. One example I think of is Friendster – an online social network that predated Facebook. It had the opportunity to be Facebook, except for its execution was flawed. The Friendster team did/could not anticipate the usage demands, resulting in their servers crashing. The Vision was there, but the Execution was flawed and the results speak for themselves. Who has a Friendster account?
Communication is also a valued attribute in a leader, but again, without proper Execution the results are marginalized. I think of the many political leaders who make claims, promises, or share ideas on how to fix broken programs. Their ideas have merit and may actually fix an issue, but without proper execution we are left in the same situation as before. Consider the numerous ideas for deficit reduction or fixing Social Security that have been proposed during the past 30 years. Most/all the ideas had merit but the execution of the plans were flawed…and now we, as a country, are trillions in debt with a failing social safety net for retired people.
Companies need employees who can execute and deliver results. This is a good tip to remember when interviewing, be sure to illustrate how you have executed well in past positions, how you have delivered results or made an impact in your role. All employers want employees who can produce good results. Remember, good intentions may not result in good outcomes.