Habits are crucial for driving execution excellence. Four things contribute to forming better habits:
- Being deliberate – be clear on what you want
- Being consistent – commit to keep going
- Looking down now – start as soon as possible
- Looking up often – learn and iterate as you go
This is number 1.
Why being deliberate is important
I spend a lot of time on food. Shopping, preparing, cooking, eating. And repeat. Exponentially more so over the last six months (which many of you may identify with!). I comb the web for sugar-free chocolate-chip cookie recipes while I wait for my sugar-loaded pumpkin and cinnamon ice cream to churn. I look for a gluten-free blueberry muffin option while I wait for my gluten-rich sourdough to rise.
Being deliberate about the things you spend time on gives it another meaning. Don’t get me wrong – I love food. But what’s it all for?
Am I just feeding my friends and family? Or am I creating a community around a dinner table?
Am I just preparing a meal? Or am I getting 1% better every day?
The point is not that you must become a chef. The point is that if you put purpose to your tasks, your tasks take on a different meaning.
Now I ask the same for an organisation:
- Are you just answering client calls? Or are you making client experience a differentiator?
- Are you just launching products? Or are you changing the world by giving them the product they’ve always wanted?
- Are you just providing management accounts? Or are you serving your colleagues by giving them the metrics and insights they need?
Cooking every day doesn’t mean you’ll become a chef.
Operating a business doesn’t mean you’ll have a competitive advantage / change the world / provide crucial business insights / __________ (fill in the blank).
On any one day, these things might look the same. But over the long term, the differences are immense.
Execution excellence doesn’t happen because you spend time on important things (like preparing food – it’s important and you can do it for years without any excellence).
Rather, it evolves as you increase your effectiveness by being deliberate in letting your purpose drive your goals which drive your tasks. (Great article that explains the link between effectiveness and being deliberate: https://www.zarvana.com/2-productivity-synonyms-reveal-key-strategies-for-boosting-performance/)
- Be deliberate in articulating your purpose and strategy. (The stuff of Strategy.)
- Be deliberate in setting your goals. (The stuff of Goal Management.)
- Be deliberate in planning your actions. (The stuff of Project Management.)
- Be deliberate in implementing your learnings. (The stuff of Reflection.)
If you want to be a chef, then write it down, set your interim goals, and ensure that every time you step into the kitchen, your actions are progressing you towards that result.
So two questions from me:
- Is it clear to see how your daily actions (or most of them at least) aligns with your long-term purpose and strategy?
- Are there any things you spend time on, on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, that should be used more effectively to move your strategy forward?