Leaders are counted on for vision and execution. Vision is how we see things in the future, and is typically impacted by our awareness of our surroundings and the identity of the organization (both current and what it has the potential of becoming). Vision stretches years out and will change over time based on outside influences and the level of execution along the way. It is what we think will happen.
Execution is a much more action oriented term. We must execute each day/week/month, etc. in order to meet our plans and have a vision become reality. There is always something to execute on and prioritization should be based on what we “know”. If we know a certain area of the organization has the highest potential for success, then that is where the majority of the focus should be.
Here is a simple example: I have a nine month old Golden Retriever. I have a vision of being able to take her hunting with me and have her actually “retrieve”. Right now she can sit, lay down, shake, kennel, and she even waits until I say the specific work “eat” before she will venture near her bowl. These are things that we have executed on in her training. However, when I take her outside all she wants to do is eat pine cones or she may go after a ball that is thrown, but will never bring it back. Essentially, “retrieving” is not happening. The problem is obvious – I am not executing on a daily basis in order to reach my vision. So either that needs to change, or I need to change my vision and be content with her cool house dog tricks. I think I will start working with her in the back yard this evening…..
What we have to be most careful of is letting a blurred vision stifle execution. We see/hear/learn things that change our vision, which is expected. However, what is also expected is that our vision will adjust and be communicated to the team so that execution and progress continue moving forward in the right direction. In summary, if the vision changes so should the message to the team in regards to execution. Work/life is much more enjoyable when everyone knows the plan and has the right tools to succeed.