Plan, Execute, Win in 2015

It’s December, and that means year end for a lot of companies.  How was the 2014 calendar year for your business?  I’ve been talking to a lot of executives in the past weeks and the conversation has been pretty similar – along the line of -- “We had a good year in 2014, as a matter of fact, we had a great year!  Now, I’m thinking about how do we maintain that momentum and actually accelerate in certain areas in 2015?”

Good question. We are all looking for a great year in 2015. But if we don’t plan, we have no shot at winning. And if we don’t execute against that plan in 2015, we will certainly fail. In my book, Business Strategy; Plan, Execute, Win!, I talk about finding the missing puzzle piece in businesses. As leaders, we need to find the missing puzzle pieces in our businesses and correct them in order to achieve our mission and goals.

One critical puzzle piece it’s important to understand is the significance of intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence—IQ vs EQ. IQ is table stakes in today’s world, the basic price to have a seat at the table whereas EQ is the real differentiating factor for our best leaders today, and probably always has been.  Those leaders with high EQ know how to build teams, create relationships, align agendas and get things accomplished through influence – they create a loyal following.

Being a UST alumnus, I naturally had to plug the Executive UST MBA program in my book. I mention how the eMBA program subscribes to "thinking like a general manager," not having all the answers, but knowing the right questions to ask. Teaching facts and figures is an archaic style of learning. Teaching someone to think like a general manager with a holistic mindset and thinking systematically, that is where true value and leadership lie.

So what is the missing puzzle piece in your business for 2015?  Are you concerned with:

  • Finding and hiring the right talent for open/new positions?
  • Having capital and free cash flow to invest in new products or expansion?
  • Fixing service/operational issues?
  • Differentiating our value proposition among our competitors as we become more of a commodity business?
  • Evaluating strategic alliances and global partners to bring more value to our customers?

There are undoubtedly many “missing puzzle pieces” that await us. Now, as we move into the holidays and then re-surface for a new year of challenges in 2015, what are the most critical things we need to be focused on? What do we have to do in order to plan, execute and win in 2015? It’s different for all of us in our various businesses, but to conclude with an old quote, one thing IS certain for all of us Tommies:

“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

Go into 2015 and be the leaders you have been taught to be and execute now!

About the Author

Patrick J. Stroh [@PatrickJStroh] is principal of Mercury Business Advisors, which provides management advisory services in business strategy, innovation and product development and is author of Business Strategy; Plan, Execute, Win!  He sits on the board of directors for Vail Place, a Minneapolis based agency supporting those with mental illness and also for the Institute of Management Accountants who serve 80,000 finance professionals worldwide.  Stroh holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis and the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification from the Institute of Management Accountants.  Patrick also writes a column entitled Innovation Elixir for the American City Business Journals covering 43 metro markets across the U.S.