Execution is not just tactics – it is a discipline and a system. It has to be built into a company’s strategy, its goals, and its culture.
And the leader of the organization must be deeply engaged in it. He cannot delegate its substance.
(Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan)
Those of us from Texas have always known – Dr Pepper is the superior soft drink. I don’t drink coffee, but my morning beverage has pretty much always been Dr Pepper. I sadly confess that as I have gotten older (and a little larger) it has transitioned into their diet version, and my current drink is Diet Dr Pepper Cherry. By far, the best diet drink ever!
Dr Pepper, though always great, has not always been run like a great company. But CEO Larry Young, a break from ownership by a British company, and a good strategy (healthier products, with catchy names, like Mott’s for Tots), have all made a difference. This is chronicled in the article Why Dr Pepper Is in the Pink of Health: Freed from Cadbury in 2008, it has been cutting costs while building up brands and sales from Business Week.
The article concludes with a key quote from CEO Young about the most critical issue: you guessed it, it’s execution.
But the biggest key to success is distribution. Recently Dr Pepper scored a coup: a fountain spigot in McDonald’s (MCD) 14,000 U.S. restaurants. And staffers like Tony English, DPSG’s director of supermarket sales in Dallas-Fort Worth, where people drink more Dr Pepper than Coke, spend their days hustling from one store to the next. His team’s only day off: Christmas. Young would have it no other way. “Strategy is fantastic,” he says. “But execution is what brings the results in.” (emphasis added).
Yes, strategy is fantastic. But without the ability to execute, strategy is just wishful thinking…
And by the way, the NFL has about half of its teams each week lose, not because the strategy was bad, but because the execution wasn’t there. I forget who said it, but yesterday in a post-game interview, there was the familiar mantra: “we failed to execute.”
The lesson is clear, and it is reinforced time and time again: “Execution is what brings the results in.”
To purchase my synopsis of Execution, with audio + handout, go to our companion website 15minutebusinessbooks.com.