When a team has tremendous success, we all want to know how they did it. How did they succeed despite the odds being stacked against them? How did they overcome adversity and defeat others who wanted to win just as much?
Many times the answer is talent, preparation, or grit. But too often while searching for some magic recipe, we overlook reality. The reality is just that they executed better than anyone else.
But execution isn’t really as simple of an answer as you may think. Execution represents the interconnectedness of many factors. It encompasses the talent, ability, preparations, grit, luck, intelligence, habit, determination etc. but it is more than that. It is how all of those things, plus many other factors, combine and interact.
That is why there isn’t a magic sauce to success. That is why someone who is extremely successful in one area doesn’t always become successful in other areas. That is why sports are so unpredictable and why entrepreneurship fads come and go.
So how to do we better execute to reach larger goals? How do we put ourselves and our teams in better position to win?
To me the answer is to take the elements that we can control and work like mad to have them going in the right direction. We might not be able to control everything but we certainly can control something. Start there. Start with what we can control and put in place the right systems and habits in order to improve.
The reason that I value the systems and habits approach so much is that it forces us to work on the elements that we can control. It helps us move forward despite not knowing exactly how to get there. Because I have found that when you are going in the right direction, negative situational changes are less devastating and we are more prepared for new opportunities.
So instead of just searching for one element, realize that we have to improve in many elements. We have to systematically improve and grow over time so that can set and reach new goals and accomplish more and more.
This will put us in position to execute. By constantly improving we will get better and better and will be able to better execute. It doesn’t guarantee success but it puts the odds in our favor. So stop searching for one missing element and start working on improving all aspects systematically.
There is a great quote about execution by Marcus Aurelius. He emphasizes this focus on execution. He said, “Execute every act of thy life as though it were thy last.”