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5 Traits of Leaders Who Act

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Why is it that organizations have trouble moving from planning to action? Why is it that so many Leaders are dissatisfied with the execution culture of their organizations?

1. Focus - The plan sets the direction. Focus takes the direction and breaks it into specific priorities and actions for you and your team. Every action has a time-bound deliverable. Completed actions result in priorities being met. Completed priorities achieve the goal. Hold people accountable to their tasks. Keep them focused. Don't allow new opportunities to hijack their focus.

2. Know your bandwidth - People, time and money. Those are the resources you have to work with. Really make sure that you and your team have the bandwidth to take on this priority. If you don't, then take something else off the table -- simple as that.

3. Consistency of purpose - Be consistent in your management of the priority. Carve out the time and commit to that schedule. Make sure your schedule and your agendas reflect this priority. Other things will have to give. Be consistent in your messaging, in your leadership of this priority. Don't get distracted, as you will send a message that other things are starting to take precedence. If it is important, show it. Consistently. Plant the flag, communicate the goal! There is nothing like putting the big goal out there for all to hear. It sets the standard. It commits you and the organization to the goal. It makes it harder to compromise the goal. Rally the organization, the team around the objective and keep it top-of-mind through constant communication.

4. Just Do It - The tougher the problem, the more inclined we are to deliberate, to try and find a better solution. There is no one right answer. There are options; some are less wrong than others, none are perfect. You will never have all the facts to make the best decision. Use the experience of your team to come to the best decision with the facts you have. There is a difference between due diligence and vacillation.

5. Discipline - Stick to deadlines. Your project has clear action plans and clear lines of accountability. Insist that people are accountable, that they meet their deadlines. Nothing sinks a project faster than slippage. It is a disease. And start with yourself. If you allow slippage you are sending the message that it is acceptable. It is not. It is the road to incompletion, to inaction.