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To move forward in business, you or your organization must be good at execution. It sounds so simple, yet time and again the execution of a strategy or change fails. How come?

Any time you seek to execute a change in strategy you are asking yourself and other to change your human behavior. It may be the behavior of a few, a team or an entire organization.

The answer to good execution of strategy is to change the behavior of the people, to change the human element. You can have written goals, tactics and deadlines. These are good but they are only “on paper” change.

Without commitment and proven practices to follow to execute the strategy or change “on paper” you will fail to change the one component necessary to success. That element is human behavior.

Behavioral change strategies are very challenging. You can’t just put them down “on paper” and order, let alone expect them to happen. Behavioral change has a better chance of success when the system is changed and people are held accountable for their behavior.

The last part to successfully executing a new strategy is to start with something small. Too often, I see organizations try to fix everything. When they do it is like throwing everything into a blender. The result, very often, is chaos and failure.

I have talked about ways to overcome the challenge of executing a new strategy or incorporating change. It is good to have written goals where everyone can see them. There must be commitment to proven practices. People must be willing to embrace a new system and to be held accountable. Lastly, start with a small strategy or change, experience some success and build on it.

Take all of the above and add a fanatical discipline to make sure these things take place. For without discipline there is very little chance of successfully executing a strategy or change. Success in implementing a strategy or change will come from having the discipline to execute

John Maxwell, in his book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, talks about the Law of the Lid. In short, the ceiling for your leadership ability will depend on the level of your personal development. All of the 21 Laws are interrelated. So a leadership experience may seem to lean more on one law than another but in truth, there are several laws at work at any one time.

In reflecting of the Law of the Lid and its relevance in my life I found my thoughts going back to when I was in Cub Scouts. I was eight or nine years old at the time. In my small town, we did not have a movie theater. The fund raiser for our Cub Scout pack was to sponsor a movie show in the high school gym. My hometown of Chappaqua, New York, which at the time had about 2,000 residents is quite hilly and the school district encompassed approximately nine square miles.

To sell tickets to the show, you had to go door to door between houses that could be up to a tenth of a mile or more apart from each other. Also, there were some elevation changes of up to 150 feet making the process of going door to door, even for a young boy, a rigorous physical challenge.

My mother and father were very supportive. That was good! I was excited about selling tickets but I had one problem. All my competition had bicycles. That was something that we could not afford. The good news was that if you sold the most tickets you won a brand new Schwinn 3 speed bike which at the time was the bike to have. Also, just for a historical context, this was not an era where parents drove their little Cub Scouts around to homes. As a kid you either walked or rode a bicycle.

Since I did not have a bike, I would have to walk door to door and it would take me much longer to reach people who, hopefully, had not already purchased tickets to the movie show. Also, my motivation to have a bike, and the Schwinn in particular, drove me to walk and walk and walk some more. On the weekends, I would start in the morning with a peanut butter sandwich my mother had packed and set off to see who I could sell tickets to.

This went on for several weekends. I walked as much as I could. I met many very nice people and in the process I got to know my hometown.

Then the big moment arrived. The movie was going to be shown at the high school gym and they would announce the top three finishers in ticket sales. When they called my name as the top ticket seller and the winner of the Schwinn bicycle I was stunned and elated. Also, I had doubled the ticket sales of the second and third place finishers, both of whom had bikes.

If I had put a lid on what I could accomplish because I did not have a bicycle, or thought that it wasn’t worth trying because it wasn’t fair that I had to walk, I never would have won the contest. Fortunately, at nine years old, I did not have the context to see that there could be a very real lid, no bicycle, on what I could accomplish. At nine, I did not understand the Law of the Lid. Yet, as I have gone through business and life, I am reminded that when I raise my lid more opportunity flows into my business and life. For greater success, raise your lid.

Coaching is proven to work when two factors are present:
• The client is willing to learn, grow, and take action
• There is a gap between where he is now and where he wants to be.
That`s all is necessary for a successful coaching relationship where you can develop the right strategy, implement an action plan, and achieve your goals. Anything is possible within the coaching relationship. With a coach you can:

Take More, Better and Smarter Actions
The first task together is to find out exactly what you really want for yourself. Once you create objectives that are clear in with your personal values and professional vision, you are much more likely to naturally and consistently take actions to reach them.

Have A Balanced Life, Which Works Well
Professional success is maximized when you enjoy a sense of personal fulfillment and life balance. You need to be selfish yet responsible, and how to care out enough time so your life outside of work is exactly the way you want it to be.

Make Better Decisions
It helps you become focused as you share ideas with coach. The coach understands you and be subjective enough to want a lot for you, yet objective enough not be biased or self-serving. You`ll also find that just talking about your options with someone who really listens is often enough to clarify things.

Reach For More- Much More
When you have a partner you trust, you will reach for much more because you can afford to. Are you ready to think big and really live your life fully? The coach is a partner who will enable you to take your life wherever you want it to go.

Make And Keep More Money
Most people are worth a lot more than they are making. Are you happy with your financial situation? If not, the coach can look at your beliefs about money and address whatever is keeping you from experiencing financial abundance.

Have More Sustainable Energy
Together the coach and you can identify the things that drain your energy, and create a long- term strategy to eliminate them. In addition, the coach will focus on the things that give you energy, and explore how to maximize their impact. When you`re happy, productive, and free from tolerations and problems, life is a lot more fun!

Change, in most instances, is not easy. Why? It presents a whole new set of challenges to the people who have to learn to master it, not to mention, the other who work with them who can be directly or indirectly in the performance of their work be affected by the change.

As we know when we throw a stone in the middle of a calm pond, the waves it creates will wash up on the shore in ways that we cannot see. (read more…)

In my early twenties I became involved in a business to import balsa wood from the jungles of Ecuador and Peru to the United States. At the time, my Spanish speaking skills were quite good and the company I was working for asked me and another fellow, who spoke Spanish very well, to go to Ecuador and Peru and to get agreements from mill owners in those countries to supply balsa wood and ship it to Houston, Texas.

The process for doing this involved a great deal of preparation. There was no internet in 1975. Letters went back and forth for six months and ultimately we set up two meetings in Guayaquil, Ecuador and one in Lima, Peru. Our first meeting in Guayaquil was very scary and went badly.

German expatriates, former Nazis, who fled Germany after World War II, controlled most of the balsa wood business. My business associate and I met them in their offices on the docks of Guayaquil.

After a short and nice introduction, the tone changed. They told us that there was no way they would let us export balsa wood from Ecuador to the United States because that threatened their semi-monopoly at the time and their U. S. office in Miami. At this point, a door at the back of the office opened and two large men came out and proceeded to hit us, kick us while the owner told us that if we valued our lives we would not stay in the balsa wood business.

They literally kicked us out the door and let us go. Scared does not even begin to describe the multitude of emotions. Yes, we were scared. We were angry. Worst of all we understood that they could have killed us without any repercussions.

Obviously, this was not a good process and the result for us, was a very bad outcome. If we had understood the true nature of the process, we would have avoided the outcome. The tricky part in business and life is that at times we may think, as my business associate and I did, that we are in a good process. Sadly, it masks, when you are dealing with people who think “I win” “You lose” in terms of outcome.

Too often in business and life we look at outcome and wonder why something failed or, on the other hand, we marvel at how something succeeded. To find the answer always look at process. Process determines outcome.