Creative Leadership

Let’s Make This The Year of Execution

Over the last decade, businesses being disrupted, moral failures of leaders, identity politics, and more have taught us that execution matters. No matter how noble your idea, if you can’t make it happen, then it doesn’t matter. So much has been poorly executed of late, that I want us to focus this new year on the art of “execution.” You’ll remember the famous saying:

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” We could cite numerous examples from across all political ideologies, nonprofits, and businesses of ideas that sounded good on paper, but were a disaster when put into action.

I’ve met plenty of people at Hollywood parties who are “idea people.” But I never see those “idea people” ever amount to much. I rather agree with comedy legend Sid Caesar: “The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.”

Indeed, we seem to be living in a time when far too many people (and leaders) think ideas are all that matter. When the actual execution fails, we shouldn’t worry, because we meant well. They feel your “intention” in life is all that matters. (Is this where all the “self-esteem” teaching has brought us?)

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:29: “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” And the Message version of Colossians 3:23 says, “…don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.”

I love the line, “Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.”

I love great ideas, but this year, let’s work harder on making those ideas happen. Let’s all agree that Ideas are wonderful, but even more wonderful is the commitment, ability, and drive to make those ideas happen.

Here’s to a great year!

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  1. If you think about it keep me posted if I don’t see the responses. I’m interested in their perspectives as well.

  2. For a minute there I thought you were advocating bringing back the death penalty. Oh – sorry, you still have that in the US don’t you…

    But yes, I agree with your sentiment completely. Stanley Kubrick once said “Ideas are a trap. You need a story.”

  3. Executing projects with excellence is all 3; Art, Science and Discipline. When you don’t understand it it’s often considered an art. When you DO understand it’s about process it becomes a science. The secret sauce in the science is that it takes discipline to routinely and repeatedly follow the process.

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