How to make 2023 the ‘year of execution’


Execution is what sets high-performing people – and companies – apart. Here are six ways to help you make stuff happen this year.
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So, you’ve got your 2023 strategy. It’s a goodie – full of great ideas and lofty goals – but how are you actually going to achieve what you want to? Execution is what sets high-performing people – and companies – apart. Here are six ways to help you make stuff happen this year.

Do we all have the same picture?

OK, we have a strategy, but has it been shared with everyone? From the CEO to the graphic designer, does everyone know what part they play and how their actions contribute? Think of your strategy as a big jigsaw puzzle, where each person and their role are a single piece. Think about how much more quickly you can complete a jigsaw puzzle when you know what the final picture is supposed to look like – give people that picture to constantly refer to (don’t leave them guessing what part they play) and watch action happen, fast.

How many goals is too many?

Research has shown that two to three goals is the optimal number if you actually want to achieve them. In bestselling book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, which is based on research across 200,000+ organisations globally, they outline that once your focus spreads across three goals or more, your chances of achieving them diminish greatly.

Use lead measures, not lag measures

Let me use a revenue goal to explain this one. Say you want to make $20,000 in sales a month – this is what the authors of The 4 Disciplines of Execution call a lag measure – lag measures tell you if you’ve achieved a goal. Many of us fall into the trap of fixating on a lag measure, but it’s something we can’t directly influence, is it? Instead? Flip it, and focus on the lead measures – the predictive and influenceable actions you can take to achieve that lag measure. So, for that sales goal, it could be, ‘reach out to three new prospects a week week’, now that’s a goal you have direct influence and ownership of – it’s something you can make happen.

Fewest battles to win the war

 When you’re setting goals that edge you towards executing your strategy, how can you kill two birds with one stone? What is going to be most impactful? I find asking myself these questions really helps me sets goals that will move the needle:

  • What would this look like if it was easy?
  • How am I making this harder than it needs to be?
  • What’s the first obvious step?
Keep score

Watch anyone play a game, and then watch their behaviour change when you begin keeping score. The same happens in any organisation. Author and leadership expert, Stephen Covey, outlines though, that the best scoreboard is often designed by and for the individual, not by who’s in charge. An easy way to do this is to get everyone to commit to one thing they can do to contribute to the larger goal or strategy in your team meeting each week. Then each week, get each person to share if they completed the action and what the outcome was. No one person or role should be immune from this process. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 75% of the world’s highest-growth companies will deploy a revenue operations (RevOps) model. Simplified, a RevOps model means that rather than working in siloed functions, you adopt a mindset and methodology across the entire business that follows the flow of revenue from a customer point of view. Everyone from the graphic designer, to the receptionist, to the CEO can influence sales and should be acting on it.

It all comes down to habits

You can have all the good intentions in the world, but really execution comes down to the proactive habits you imbed every day. Yes, 80% of your day will be taken up by putting out fires, reacting and responding to things that land in your inbox or things on top of other people’s to-do lists. But if you can find just 15 minutes a day to work proactively on things you know will move the needle, execution will be yours. Check out my four super-powered sales habits you can implement now.

Knowing what to do is the easy bit, but these six things will make execution easier and keep you on track.

Abbie White is a leader in the field of high-performance sales, and is the founder of sales transformation company, Sales Redefined.