If You Can't Seem to Execute Your Plans, Address These 6 Issues

Rapid adaptation to change is vital in the post-pandemic world, but one age-old factor remains a business keystone: the execution of a clear and success-measurable plan.

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By Thomas Ai Nerd Helfrich

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every aspect of our existence is bound to a conveyer of change. Over time, we have moved from using crude tools to a point where technology has redefined virtually every aspect of life. The business world, of course, is no exception, as it has witnessed seismic change in all its key areas. Who would have thought a day would come when we could transact business fully online without having to meet each other in person? And needless to say, how curiously would you have been stared at three years ago if you offered in a meeting or seminar that one day we could work entirely from home.

From how we digitally transact business to how we communicate with our audience and customers, we have gotten to a point where adapting to rapid-fire trend changes is mandatory in order to stay relevant and survive.

Having a plan, and executing it

"To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions." — Steve Jobs

A sustainable strategy is integral to the survival of any enterprise that aims to be relevant, however plans alone will not suffice — they will not save your business from hitting the rocks if you don't follow them up with execution.

Since the nightmare of the pandemic, businesses have had to strategically switch gears to be market-responsive, and did this by adopting viable alternatives made available principally by technology.

Related: Diversity and Technology Have the Power to Boost Business Revenues

Gary Vaynerchuck, chairman of the media and communications holding company VaynerX, put it succinctly: "Execution is the game." Without clearly defined tasks, measurable work plans, and the means to assess progress against milestones, an organization cannot hope to meet its goal or realize success. Not executing a strategy properly results in weak lines of communication and a lack of objectives for employees.

The principle detailed above may generally be recognized as essential, yet about 90% of organizations fail to execute their strategic plans effectively, according to research mentioned in Chris Zook and James Allen's 2010 book, Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times.

Here are some of the factors contributing to that failure rate and how to address them.

1. Poor communication

Execution of any plan will struggle as long as communication is subpar. It's vital to

communicate what your organization wants to achieve in clear and simple terms so that everyone knows their role. This could be in the form of an all-staff meeting or simply a welcoming work culture that encourages collective effort and teamwork, where every milestone is celebrated.

Related: 9 Best Practices to Improve Your Communication Skills and Become a More Effective Leader

2. Lack of commitment to a strategic plan

When the center doesn't hold, things inevitably fall apart. The same principle holds for any execution that lacks commitment. To successfully execute a plan to achieve a desired objective, ensure that everyone is on the same page and committed to it.

3. Lack of clarity regarding objectives and priorities

It's almost impossible for any plans to be achieved without clarity. Think of this as akin to the headlights in your car: they make a pathway plain, which leads one to a destination. It's integral that there is clarity right from the inception of the planning phase, and the results should be simple, identifiable and easy to recognize.

4. Isolated and fragmented actions

Virtually nothing works or succeeds in isolation. Achievement requires team effort geared at achieving a common goal. So, build a team that fosters a healthy work culture where every employee feels valued and important.

5. Inability to track performance

It isn't easy to achieve a goal when performance can't be measured; it becomes impossible to know whether progress is being made. Successful execution requires key performance indicators (KPIs) from the start. This should be articulated in numbers, so it's easy to track, measure and be useful for anticipating future outcomes.

Related: The Best Way to Track Your Company's Performance

6. Resistance to change

Change is inevitable, but not every organization is flexible enough to adopt it. Resistance to change is one factor that can wreck the possibility of executing any objective successfully. So, make provision for possible eventualities at any phase of a project during its strategic planning phase.

Thomas Ai Nerd Helfrich

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of InstantlyRelevant.com

Thomas "AI Nerd" Helfrich is obsessed with making founders, entrepreneurs and startups instantly relevant by creating customized content and social media engagement personalized to your brand. Meet with me here: Calendly.com/instantlyrelevant

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