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Execution is Not Easy! If it was, everyone would be doing it…even the US Air Force

How can really bright people screw up to the tune of $1 billion?

Our colleagues in the US Air Force were successful in just that.

They selected a software vendor in 2006 to “configure, deploy and conduct training and change management activities” related to a $628 million contract for an off-the-shelf enterprise-wide software system.  Randall Stross, a Silicon Valley author and professor at San Jose State University, captures the details in Sunday’s New York Times.  He quotes an Air Force executive,  laying the groundwork for this debacle by 2010, “We’ve never tried to change all the processes, tools and languages of all 250,000 people in our business at once, and that’s essentially what we are about to do.”

Mr. Stross attributes the failure to endless meetings, complex bureaucratic requirements and the constant need to fight wars.  My assessment of the situation is much simpler.

My experience working with leadership teams for over 30 years tells me that the team’s Vision and planning process was flawed.

This is what happens when the collective attitudes and beliefs are not addressed as part of the vision process.  This is what happens when the vision cannot be articulated or is not embraced by every member of the team.  These are the obstacles to almost every planning process.  When the planning process is flawed, no amount of expertise in execution can bring an initiative to a productive close.

If you would like to align your team around a vision for a $1 billion initiative or something smaller in scope for 2013, get our free report at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

Here’s the full article in the Sunday business section of the  New York Times: http://nyti.ms/YOI6CF  It’s worth a read.

Getting the Right People in the Right Roles Requires Hiring The Right People in the First Place

Yesterday’s Corner Office Interview by Adam Bryant in the Sunday Business Section of the New York Times hit the ball out of the ballpark.  Sandra Kurtzig is Chair and CEO of Kenandy, a software management firm in Redwood City, CA.

She had a number of very valuable points.  The title is Don’t Chase Everything That Shines and she speaks about the need to have good boundaries and high standards.  Not every idea is, in fact, a good idea!

The most compelling pieces to me were her hiring questions.  She asks “Why are you here? What do you know about our company that made you want to interview for this job?”  She says if they have not done their homework about her company that’s a real red flag for her.

An even more important interview question is this: “Why do you want to leave the company you’re at right now? Looks like you’re doing a pretty good job, and you’re doing well.  What is it that you don’t like there?”

She says the answer to this question is ALWAYS an eye-opener.  She uses this to mine for their perspective on a number of topics.

I highly recommend the entire piece.  It will take all of about 3 minutes to fully digest.  It will take some extended period of time, however, for most of us to build in the discipline and clarity that Ms. Kurtzig demonstrates.

See the full article here: http://nyti.ms/VcZ5qn

If you enjoy our blog posts, you’ll love our free report, The 7 Secrets to Making More Money and Working Less.  Go to www.TeamAlignmentStrategiest.com for your free copy.