In the first part of my year-end message before Christmas, I shared two important characteristics of an entrepreneur: Perseverance and Perspective. While both are essential to achieving individual and business success, and foundational for what we have accomplished to date and will accomplish together in the future, no factor is more important than Execution.
Over the last four years, our firms’ revenues and headcount have nearly tripled – an incredible achievement. During this time, we expanded into new areas and more fully dimensionalized and diversified our capabilities. This enabled us to offer clients a more complete end-to-end solution set to handle a variety of challenges and opportunities facing their businesses. We created new practices and revenue streams, which opened new career paths for our people and new markets for our services.
In studying companies with similar growth trajectories from a number of industries, one insight came through. Successful companies recognize the need to digest growth! That is, they provide a runway for people, policies, programs, systems and new behaviors to calibrate with existing and new revenue.
It doesn’t mean they stop innovating or growing. Rather, it means they do so within a construct that allows for consistent execution in all phases of the business.
And this is how I see 2014 – the year we focus on flawlessly executing programs and delivering on promises between one another throughout the firm and on those made to our clients and channel partners.
Companies that execute consistently do so when people, individually and collectively, focus on the right details at the right time expecting to create the right results.
In his seminal book on this fundamental tenant – Execution – Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell and Allied Signal, describes Business Execution as “not only the biggest issue facing business today; it is something nobody has explained satisfactorily. It is a discipline of its own. Execution is a specific set of behaviors and techniques that companies need to master in order to have competitive advantage.”
Bossidy’s point about nobody explaining execution satisfactorily is very interesting and worth noting. In 2014, we will be talking about execution a lot from many different angles inside the firm. But we will also be talking about it with clients and prospects. Our differentiated point of view, based on a deepening knowledge of analytics and insight generation, can also be directed at helping clients make execution a critical discipline for their success.
It is my strong belief that flawless execution will make us all better professionals. It will engender confidence and courage and enrich our planning and pacing as a business.
To that end, among other things, we established a new learning and development program – W2O University – in large part to unleash your full business execution potential. We also launched the Client Relationship Leader (CRL) initiative to ensure we deliver the highest level of strategy, quality service and delivery to our clients through an integrated client service matrix team. And we began a concerted effort to strengthen our infrastructure including investing in, installing and training you on new systems, policies and programs in finance, HR, project management and service, as well as resource allocation. All of this is designed to foster more seamless, efficient and profitable business collaboration among offices, geographies, practices and capabilities.
We also will continue to support the W2O Center for Social Commerce at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School — a one-of-a-kind partnership with arguably the world’s leading communications program — to ensure students are better prepared to execute as interns and entry-level talent in today’s and tomorrow’s social and digital business world.
Each new year brings with it an incredible sense of invincibility, of hope and accomplishment – a can do attitude. 2014 is no different.
I’m sincerely grateful to be working with such an awesome group of people. And I’m very much looking forward to making this year one where we digest our growth and execute and at the same time continue innovating and disrupting the status quo!
May you and your family have a healthy, happy 2014!
Now Let’s Go. Ahead. And Execute. Because Vision Without Execution is Hallucination.