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Updated: Mar 31

"We're not fast enough!"

This is what I often hear from CEOs of middle-market companies. It's like a fast brain with a slow-to-respond body.

I see many CEOs whose fast-moving vision hits the reality of sluggish execution by their leadership teams and organization.

Slow execution kills business results:

  • Products are too late to the market.

  • Delayed projects burden the budget.

  • Unhappy customers look for alternatives.

It seems natural to identify root causes and apply preventive measures. We all tried them, and they didn't work very well most of the time. We fired leaders, changed positions, hired more people, and engaged consultants.

But despite all the efforts, things haven't started to move faster. It's frustrating and scary.

We already gave promises to the market, we committed to the board, and we based our forecasts on "confirmed" deadlines.

These challenges can test the limits of most patient CEOs, especially when their words are on the line. Especially when they feel they can lose their job or business when the stakes are high and more likely when they're overwhelmed, overstressed, and overworked.

But slow execution is usually not the real problem. It's just the symptom of the real problem.

Many times, the real problem is the less expected one – misalignment of the leadership team.

It's easy to spot misalignment when the executive team members pull in opposite directions. It's way harder to detect slight misalignments when everybody generally steers in the same direction.

The difference between the left arrow and the right arrow explains it all. In both situations, the organization will reach its destination. But not at the same time. In the right arrow, it will happen much faster.

The alignment of the leadership team is a speed multiplier. However, you don't achieve alignment on the surface. You accomplish alignment on a deeper level, which most leadership teams don't have the capability or capacity to master.

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