As an avid golfer, I often draw parallels between the sport of golf and business. As you may know, the goal in golf is to limit the number of shots you take. From a business perspective, this translates to being an efficient executor. While the idea sounds easy, it is often difficult to do.
In my experience there are a couple of common execution pitfalls that occur in both golf and business.
- Unclear path –In golf, if you don’t know where to hit your golf ball, you run the risk of hitting your ball out of bounds or setting up for a difficult next shot. Businesses that do not know how to get to their destination often struggle to create meaningful products/services. I have seen many organizations start out with great ideas but lack follow through on the steps to achieve that goal. Without a path forward, it will lead to confusion, frustration, and ultimately a sub-par product/service.
- Overcomplicating it – When I first learned how to play golf, I would get so focused on the mechanics of my swing that I would often miss-hit the ball. In business, leaders will often add more and more activities in a un- prioritized manner often overburdening or paralyzing their teams resulting in burnout and a decline in morale.
- Inflexible – Golfers require different golf clubs and technique in order to execute different shots effectively. As a kid, I often hit most my shots with 1 club, my 5 iron. However I quickly experienced other golfers playing better than me, simply because they knew how to use different golf clubs. For businesses, being inflexible to changes can result in missed opportunities or failed products/services.
Do any of these pitfalls sound familiar to you? If so, I am here to tell you there is hope. There are three tips that can help you combat these pitfalls.
- Chart the course – Success is built on execution. In order to execute effectively, organizations must develop plans to execute against. Effective plans will consider resources (e.g. money, people, time, technology, etc.) and the impact of internal and external factors. It is important to note that these documents are not meant to be static. In order to keep plans relevant, businesses need to develop a rhythm to review and update plans on a systematic basis. Organizations that have these documents and processes in place will be better equipped to execute.
- Prioritize – Businesses do not have do everything to be successful, however weeding out non-essential items can be very difficult to do. By utilizing tools such as the action priority matrix or a decision matrix analysis in a transparent way with your team, it can help you prioritize the critical items that will help you get to your goal quicker.
- Be Flexible – In today’s world, things can change very quickly. While a plan is critical to help guide the organization, it is important to have flexibility to adjust plans. For businesses, knowing when to be flexible and pivoting can often lead to better products/services for customers.
No matter what stage your business is in, take pause and ask yourself if your organization has succumb to one or more of the execution pitfalls. If so, acknowledge it and take action to change it. Doing so may very well change the outcome of your business and possibly your golf game.
Meet the Expert: Eric Sharma
Eric Sharma is an Associate at Point B, a management consulting firm that assists clients in developing strategic insights and translating them into impact. The company serves organizations from visionary start-ups to Fortune 100 companies across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology, retail and public sector.
Eric has proven success in numerous roles as a healthcare professional specializing in change management, process improvement, operations management, and analytics. He has extensive project leadership experience on a variety of business initiatives, including operational transformations and technology implementations. He has worked in the healthcare, manufacturing & resources, and professional services industries.
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