Execution – The New Strategy

Getting the JOB done.

A man approached JP Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”

“Sir,” JP Morgan replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope, however if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”

The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the envelope. JP Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of paper back. And paid him the agreed-upon $25,000.

The Paper:

1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.

2. Do them.

The most important thing as far as execution is concerned is how you go about managing your Diary AND your TO – DO lists. As a professional, are you fanatic about how you manage your diary??? Trust me on this, your diary is what can take you from being a mediocre professional to a very successful one.

Of all the professionals I know, there are two people who are really particular about their Diaries. Richa Singh [my super ex-boss] and Ruchira Karnik [my partner at Work Better Training]. Both of these Women are amongst the best at getting the job done.

Using the Diary as a Manager/Leader: Richa would sit with me on my TO – DO list every Monday morning. Discuss what I had to get done [not what I meant or planned to do] for the week ahead. She would give me an extra day beyond what I would ask for, to complete the task. She would write that in her Diary and ensure that I wrote on mine. On each day, she would take an account of what each one of her team members had committed to deliver. [Remember, she had given us a day extra, so there were no excuses]. If there was something that was pressing, she would remind us of our own commitment on that day. This process helped all of us get better at executing.

What does the mediocre manager do? He sets deadlines for his people in meetings. Does not write them down himself. Forgets about them. The team member forgets OR does not take the deadline seriously knowing that his leader will forget himself. WHY? Because he didn’t write it down. And that’s what leads to poor execution.

Using the Diary as an Executive: Ruchira’s Job at Work Better is to drive Sales. She operates more or less by herself. Ruchira will write just about everything down on her diary. So, if she’s supposed to call Customer X on Monday morning, she will call Monday Morning. If he is busy and asks her to call in a couple of days, she will turn the page and write that down on her Wednesday Page [Along with the time and what she is supposed to discuss with him]. If the client asks her to call 2 Months down the line, since there is no business right now, she will turn her diary to January 1st Week and write it down there. Then more importantly on Wednesday or January 1st week – She will Call and remind the client that he asked her to call. This is how our small little training company has managed to work with some of India’s biggest organizations. When professionals do this consistently – when they stick to the small little commitments they make, it builds trust which in turn leads to business.

Its simple. But not easy. For some people it comes naturally [like Ruchira] and for some people it does not [me]. Irrespective, its hard work and a must for your success as a professional. It will take some practice and getting used to. Remember, ‘The faintest of the Ink is more powerful than the strongest of memory’.

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