Simple Reasons Why Teams Fail To Execute

Most initiatives don’t fail.

They just fade away.

Your team starts an initiative. It’s exciting. It’s motivating.

A team member pings you on Slack 3 weeks later. She’s got a question.

“Hey, so what ever happened to that one thing? We still doing that?”

And just like that, your initiative faded away.

I’ve noticed a few hyper-simple reasons why teams fail to execute.

  1. They don’t know the goal. You, as the leader, might assume that everyone knows the goal because YOU know the goal. But they don’t.

  2. If they do know the goal, the goal is usually poorly set. Great goals are inspiring, have a due date, and have things that people can measure to track their progress.

  3. Even if the goal is measurable, they might not clearly understand how their work is contributing to that goal. As the leader, YOU know how your work is contributing to the overall goal. But your team might not. So show them, over and over again.

  4. And even if everything else is perfect, there aren’t enough check-ins to hold people accountable and support each other. Human nature leads us to avoid accountability, but human nature also craves the outcome of a job well done. The only way a job is done well is if it’s finished. And the way to finish is to hold yourself—and others—accountable for finishing.

Thankfully, all of these things have solutions that are simple to grasp.

  1. Regularly remind your team of the goal. Do it so much that people mock you and roll their eyes. that’s when you know it’s stuck with them.

  2. Set a small handful of goals that inspire the team, are able to be easily measured, and have due dates.

  3. Honestly and consistently tie each team member’s work directly to the overall goal. Do it in front of the entire team, and in private. And mean it.

  4. Have a regular call, meeting, or other way form of communication that is ONLY about that major goal. Look at progress, and don’t talk about anything else. And never miss that meeting.

This is simple, but not easy.

But it’s completely worth the effort.

A finished project is very, very rewarding.