Appreciating Execution

I have the pleasure of working with Rebecca Petzel on two of my current projects. She has great instincts and passion around collaboration, and she’s a thinker, a doer, and a learner. She’s already very good at many things, and if she stays on her current path, she’s going to be a force.

On our teams, we expect everyone to uphold their commitments. Rebecca is responsible for a long list of well-defined tasks. She does them all, and she does them well, without supervision.

I was synthesizing some notes today, and I needed to draw from a lot of prior work. Everything I was looking for was exactly where it was supposed to be. That was Rebecca’s doing. And even though this was a straightforward, ongoing task and she was “just doing her job,” I greatly appreciated her effectiveness at doing it.

Frankly, I know a lot of people who are smart. Only a small percentage of those folks are good at execution. I’m lucky to work with people who are good at both. Even though I expect everyone on our teams to live up to their commitments and to execute effectively, I don’t take it for granted when it happens.

I love what Stanford professor Bob Sutton says about execution: “Implementation, not strategy, is what usually separates winners from losers in most industries, and generally explains the difference between success and failure in most organizational change efforts.”