“It’s better to have grade-B strategy and grade-A execution than the other way around.” – Michael Porter

Do you deliver on what you promise? Do you deliver on what you intend to deliver? With excellence, on schedule, in a full customer and fellow-worker pleasing kind of way?

In other words, do you execute? Do you turn your plan into genuinely satisfying reality?

Do you remember when Apple rolled out its new map apps? Disaster! And it wasn’t just that the maps app was a disaster. It was that Apple had failed to execute. And that violated our expectations about Apple.

Warning: don’t ever violate people’s expectations. Surpass them—good!  Violate them—very, very bad…

I order from Amazon all the time. Nearly every time that I order, I get my stuff quickly. (Yes, I’ve paid for Amazon Prime). In fact, Amazon is so good that I am disappointed when something does not go right. At this moment, I am waiting for a used book to arrive that I bought through the Amazon web site from one of the “outside party” sellers. It is not yet late, but it is getting close. I am so accustomed to Amazon delivering on time, usually “earlier than promised”, that this is almost maddening.

But, note what I am saying — I have full confidence in Amazon. And if it arrives actually later than the promised date, I will leave a comment saying, “This seller did not execute.” And the next purchaser will be a little more beware.

But, I cut Amazon plenty of slack because they almost never let me down. This is not their norm. Execution done right is their norm.

So, what is execution? From Merriam-Webster: to carry out fully; to put completely into effect.

In other words:

This is what I am telling you I will do…
I did exactly that (or more than that — never less than that), to your full satisfaction, on the schedule I promised.

This is execution. And the larger your organization, the more critical it is that every piece of the organization executes fully, on schedule, to make the final outcome one that fulfills the promise.

So, if you make promises, if you make plans, and you do not deliver on that plan— you failed to execute. And, to put it mildly, if you fail to execute, that’s the ball game. In fact, that is the very word used to describe a lost ball game. Frequently, when a football player is interviewed after a loss, that player will say, “We had a great plan. But we failed to execute.”


Of the two, execution is far more difficult to achieve.

Randy Mayeux

Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

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