John Stumpf is CEO of Wells Fargo, one of the largest and most successful international banks in the world. Stumpf was recently quoted in Fortune Magazine saying, “We could leave our strategic plan on an airplane, and it wouldn’t matter. It’s all about execution.”
At first thought, Stumpf’s statement seems somewhat simplistic and even naïve. However, in reality his statement is powerful, profound, and absolutely correct. It is truly amazing the amount of time, effort, focus and resources normally invested to create and carefully craft and protect a strategic plan, as opposed to the amount of time, effort, focus and resources normally invested to properly and most effectively execute that plan!
Many times, all sorts of expensive consultants and “experts” are hired or engaged to help create a strategic plan. Far too often the carefully crafted plan is then cloaked in secrecy and available to only a chosen few. The plan receives lip service at appropriate times throughout the year but many times receives far too little consistent focus, investment, and documented accountability.
The emphasis should be reversed. After carefully crafting a well thought-out strategic plan, the plan should be continuously and proactively communicated to those responsible for “making it happen.” The plan should be easily accessible and clearly understood by all who are engaged and responsible for execution and for “making it happen.” These are the people who actually do the work – the people who execute the plan on a day-to-day and hour-by-hour basis.
Just as culture will eat strategy for lunch, proper and effective execution will also best strategy virtually 100% of the time. This reality is true on a personal basis, just as much as it is true on a professional and organizational basis.
Worry less and focus less on cloaking your personal, professional and organizational plans under a veil of secrecy. Focus far more on effective, frequent communication and crystal clear clarity on execution of those plans.
John Stumpf is right. For the most part all of us “could leave our [personal or organizational] strategic plan on an airplane, and it wouldn’t matter. It’s all about execution.”
Want greater success in all areas of your life? After deciding who you want to be, where you want to go and what you want to accomplish, focus on execution!