We have a failure to execute … again!


One of the more common excuses used by management for innovations not making it in the market is a “failure to execute”.  Is it really a failure to execute or a failure to give innovations enough execution focus compared to the core business?

In the 7 Immutable Laws of Innovation, the Law of Execution states:

The ability to execute on both the innovation agenda and the quarterly objectives of the operating business is a key skill that the organization needs to have.  Focusing on only one area of execution leaves the other to flounder.  Segmenting the execution roles into separate silos works against the Law of Culture.

When most organizations talk about execution, they really mean operational execution that impacts near term results.  Things like sales, manufacturing, supply chain, etc.  Newly introduced products and services find themselves starved for execution bandwidth from the organization.  The result is an innovation funnel that dies from execution neglect. Eventually the organization loses whatever leadership position they had.

Why do organizations focus on the operational side of execution?  It’s primarily because new products don’t impact the short term goals most organizations are measured against. When going into a tough quarter, it’s all hands on deck to prevent disappointing Wall Street.  Execution priorities are focused on those areas that can move the needle.

They have the ability to drive the operational side of execution, so that the organization meets the quarterly objectives, while simultaneously giving ample time, attention and execution focus to innovations that are coming into the market.  This ability to do both, balances the short and long term success.

So how do you get your organization to change?

  1. Change the compensation structure.  Add in a metric that takes into account this need to drive both operation execution and innovation execution.
  2. Make sure all the leaders in your organization are skilled to do both.  If not, then get them trained or replace them.
  3. Stick with it.  This kind of change in an organization takes time.  Most important is to not give in when the next quarterly challenge comes up.

What ideas do you have on how to help organizations go schizophrenic?


Other posts on the 7 Immutable Laws:

The 7 Immutable Laws of Innovation

The Law of Resources

The Law of Patience




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3 thoughts on “We have a failure to execute … again!

  1. Learn to fail at the small things… all the time. Failure doesn’t need to be big to be meaningful. But failure is useless if you don’t learn from it

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