Great EXECUTION is NOT Everything

Creativity and ExecutionJust a few days ago I read A.N.Other article about the supreme importance of Execution. It was well-written, pertinent with many valid points.

But, it missed the mark.

Naturally, Execution is extremely important. If you cannot bring Ideas (and Products) to fruition, they might as well have never been conceived.

Imperfect or failed execution is lost opportunity and wasted investment. All this is true.

I first had the related debate 10’s of years ago; then we were discussing the relative importance of Ideas versus Execution.

As a young, start-up VP-of-Engineering debating a seasoned (well-known and highly respected) Silicon Valley Executive (my boss, the CEO) we both leaned with inevitable biases.

My colleague held that “ONLY Execution mattered.” I felt his position egregiously undervalued the creative process.

As in many arguments, in different ways we were BOTH right. We were similarly both wrong.

Clearly, without Execution there is no result. Ideas without viable results or consequences are of little value or import; particularly so in business. Not a totally unreasonable argument.

 Yet the reverse is true: If you have no Ideas to implement, then execution prowess is meaningless.

In reality, we need BOTH Ideas AND Execution equally. This seems an obvious conclusion.

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And yet, as in every argument your opinion might differ greatly depending upon your perspective.

My colleague was in an advantaged, senior position. Seemingly every day prospective entrepreneurs would bring product and business ideas to the table. He had seen many products proposed and pushed before occasionally being taken up and implemented, sometimes many years later in modified forms.

Delays in realization can be affected by Resources, Opportunity and Timing. You need the right stuff at the right time and in the right place.

It is easy to understand that when you are surrounded by Ideas and Suggestions, they seem almost free and of lesser value. Put another way, until Execution occurs and an Idea is realized it might easily seem no more than dust blowing in the wind.

But conversely, without the Idea (and Creative Process) there is simply nothing to realize.

Ideas within themselves are inherently important, even if not realized. Creative new thoughts emerge from older ones; precedence can be common. Even dead-ends will suggest direction and provide guidance.

All this applies equally to Personal Life. Without the ability to take action (Execute) our plans (Ideas) are just thoughts; they can become unfulfilled dreams.

In Business, we need channels to produce the Ideas (or Product Concepts, or Approaches) that fuel our growth. These may be R&D, Marketing, Customer Input or other Forums and Mechanisms.

Similarly, we ultimately succeed or fail depending on the excellence of our Execution. This typically involves Development, Manufacturing, Pricing, Sales & Marketing and our Delivery.

So, there we have it. It is NOT one versus the other (Execution v. Ideas), it is BOTH.

And excellence requires at least real competence across their spectrums.

Do you have all the great Ideas necessary to succeed? Need to upgrade your sources?

Look at your own Execution. Does it get you where you want to be, when you need to get there?

Make sure YOUR Business and Life are filled with great Ideas AND the ability to make things happen.

 

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

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