Business Execution Excellence: Challenges and Solutions

You see it everywhere in the media right now–“Business execution leads to greater success”. How can you create the foundation for business execution that moves your organization from “strategizing” to “executing”?

Your strategy, people, and work processes need to be effectively linked for true business execution excellence. Problems occur when companies have a brilliant strategy, but fail to execute. What went wrong? Why do so many companies fail to execute? What is stopping them from being successful?

Execution excellence is achieved through the precise implementation of two things:

Business Alignment:

Specific, quantifiable goals (SMART goals) aligned with the organizational strategy.

People performance:

The right people with the right skills in the right jobs doing the right things.

Preparing an organization for business execution excellence requires a detailed understanding of the people and strategies within the company. Executives need to create and communicate the business goals and have a process in place where employees’ individual goals are cascaded and aligned to support the big picture. Employees need to know where they fit in–what they need to do and how it supports the organization. Business execution is not easy, but it is worth it. It requires overcoming one or more of these key challenges:

Has your organization defined its strategic goal(s)?

Business execution cannot occur until there is something to execute. The first step begins with the organizational strategy. A good strategic plan provides a “big picture” that enables managers to see and anticipate execution problems. From this plan, managers can meet with employees to establish SMART goals that support the organization’s goals. You can’t execute until you have the plan, but, on the other hand–just because you have the plan, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to execute.

Does everyone know what they should be working on?

The business execution plan must be communicated to and understood by the entire organization. These days, companies struggle to share information through complex, geographically spread out organizations. You need to get the message out to everyone–all across the board, from top-to-bottom. Without guidance, individuals do things they think are important, often resulting in uncoordinated, even conflicting decisions and actions. Goal alignment to the strategic plan ensures that each person within your organization can see the direction for the business and know how their job fits in with the “Big Picture”. Without the benefit of a logical approach, strategy execution suffers or fails because employees won’t know what steps to take and when to take them. Having a model or roadmap positively affects execution success.

Do you have an engaged workforce?

Making execution work requires feedback about organizational performance and then using that information to fine-tune strategy, objectives, and the execution process itself. Employees who clearly understand their individual goals–and how they relate to the larger goals of the company–naturally become more engaged with their work. Successfully executing companies realize that their achievements are linked to their ability to manage, track and communicate goals–informing their workforce and linking reward systems with individual and team performance to keep them engaged in their work. Without clear responsibility and accountability, execution programs will go nowhere.

Are you maximizing the potential of your employees?

One of the greatest challenges faced by managers is the strategic personal development of employees in order to ensure effective use of talent. Keeping your employees engaged and motivated is the key to a successful, highly-productive workforce. When you effectively manage, motivate and empower employees, will be rewarded with higher rates of employee engagement and retention. This leads to an organization staffed with a workforce of people who are highly productive, skilled and committed to doing their very best on your strategy execution plan.


A critical issue to point out is that business execution is a process without an end. Although broad strategy and direction will not waver, the things you do, and in what order, will continually evolve due to changing conditions in the world around you. A business execution plan will enable you to deploy a great strategy and ensure that your employees are executing on it every day. Align your goals, people, and work processes and you have a great start to successful strategy execution and a more profitable business.

About SuccessFactors

SuccessFactors is the global leader in business execution software. The SuccessFactors Business Execution Suite improves business alignment and people performance to drive breakthrough results for companies of all sizes. More than 8 Million+ users and 3000+ companies leverage SuccessFactors every day. To learn more, visit:

Top 10 U.S. cities for job growth


If you are a sales or marketing executive or professional looking for your next career option Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search recruiters can help. Our recruiters work on sales jobs and marketing jobs nationwide, including but not limited to Tampa, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC, Charlotte and Philadelphia. Visit ALL of the Cities with Job Opportunities. Naviga and our recruiters are looking forward to hearing from you!

By Jason Henry McCormick, CBS Money Watch,

Which American cities have the highest job-creation rates? The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, analyzing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranked major metropolitan areas, each with a workforce of at least 1 million, from July 2011 to July 2012. Check out which job-creating cities make up the top 10.

Key Business Success Factors

By Lisa Nielsen, Demand Media

Key Business Success FactorsSmall business owners and managers need a way of gauging their success, but the benchmarks for one business type may be different from another type of business. Still, critical success factors are common to most businesses that assist management in measuring whether they are on track toward reaching profit and market share goals.

Employee Attitudes Drive Growth And Change

Attitudes drive behaviors that result in change. If your employees do not take initiative, make suggestions, happily stay late when necessary and strive to do their best work all the time, your business will certainly stagnate. A key business success factor is a motivated and committed workforce. Without that, no amount of vision and planning will provide the framework for growth and prosperity.

Technology Utilization

Avoid keeping up-to-date with technology at your own peril. The company that utilizes technology to open up new markets, serve customers, increase efficiency and new product and service development has the better chance of besting competition. This success factor, along with your motivated workforce, can also help you weather business downturns.

Financial Success Factors

Most business owners will first measure success in terms of financial factors. But, while a business needs to make a profit to survive, if the right technology and workforce are not in place, profits will be more elusive. Profits, though, are a key measure of success along with positive cash flow, a manageable debt load and a drive toward efficiency in holding down variable costs, among others. Financial success indicators may also be different from one industry to the next.

Global Footprint

Even if your business is strictly local, the size of your global footprint is important to your future and is a measure of your success. In today’s world of instant communication, you have the ability to share information, develop new products and open new markets more easily than ever before. Examine ways to expand globally and make it a part of your plan that is continually reviewed and graded.

Marketing Consistency

Many firms make the mistake of not carefully overseeing their marketing message. They have different messages going out to the same audience at the same time which confuses potential and current prospects. Companies with a consistent message across all media platforms, such as websites, paid media and other forms of marketing collateral, are the more successful marketers. Marketing consistency is a success factor that any company should not overlook.

Lisa Nielsen is a marketing consultant for small businesses and start-ups. As part of her consultancy, she writes advertising copy, newsletters, speeches, website content and marketing collateral for small and medium-sized businesses. She has been writing for more than 20 years. She is also a business strategist, trainer and executive coach. Nielsen holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami.

What Can Businesses Learn from the RNC?

By Kevin Steffey


This week, Tampa has the pleasure of hosting the Republican National Convention.  In fact, the convention is being held a mere 5 blocks from our office in downtown.  I know the convention has just begun, but the early success and visibility we have gotten is a testament to the hard work of many people behind the scenes.  It made me think about what businesses can learn from the team putting on the RNC in 2012.

  1. Talent is key:  the sheer number of people to hire, security check, and train for such a sizable event is immense.  Law enforcement, service people for the many events around town, transportation, sound and lighting teams, and on and on.  Without a hiring and training plan that anticipates some of the planned and unforeseen needs there is no way to be successful.
  2. Have your plan and your contingency plan.  It is obvious from witnessing the activity right outside my window that there are plans on top of plans in play to make this event successful.  Barricades have been erected around buildings – just in case.  There is a large staging area for protesters with more port-o-lets than I have ever seen. One of the major highways through town is closed for security, but also to park the large number of busses bringing in delegates from around the bay area.   Temporary roads and buildings have been put in strange places to provide protection for the VIPs coming in to the area.  Even a threatening Hurricane Isaac seemed to be addressed with a “we knew this could happen” approach and the event barely missed a beat.  As a police officer who visited our office to share plans stated, “we have our plans, and we have flexibility built-in to handle whatever comes up.”
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  The planners obviously understand that the event has major implications for attendees, residents, businesses in the surrounding area.  As I mentioned earlier, police officers reached out to local businesses and worked proactively to help plan things such as deliveries, parking, traffic, and security concerns.  Signs are up everywhere to help direct traffic and minimize impact to people’s daily lives.  Local newspapers and TV channels have been outlining for weeks how to adjust for the event.  All stakeholders need to have regular communication to maximize your success.

With such increased visibility, the stakes are certainly high for the RNC and the Tampa Bay area.  But, so far the talent, planning and communication is making for a smooth event!  The same can hold true for your business.

7 Ways to Promote Yourself Without Bragging: To Attract Attention, You Have to Show Off

by C.J. Hayden, MCC

Do you find self-promotion embarrassing? Does it feel like you’re bragging? Not all businesspeople are comfortable telling others how fantastic their product or service is. Here are 7 methods you can use to market yourself and your business without bragging.

businesswoman with megaphoneRecently, a client of mine complained, “I’m really good at what I do. I shouldn’t have to market myself.” In fact, he is quite good at his profession, but the problem is that not enough prospective clients know about him. Like many professionals, he is reluctant to talk about his accomplishments. “It feels like bragging,” he says. “Doesn’t it make me seem unprofessional?”

If thoughts like these often cross your mind, ask yourself this — who are the biggest names in your profession? In your line of work, who might be considered unquestioned experts, those with maximum credibility? Now, how did you get to know about those people’s work? Did you read an article or book they had written, hear them interviewed, learn about them on the web? Or perhaps you were told about them by others who had heard them speak or read their words.

The point is that these well-known people became well-known because they showcased themselves, usually in multiple ways. They shared stories, examples, and ideas about the work they had been doing with a wider audience than just their friends and family. You know about their work because they showed it off. And I’ll bet it never occurred to you to call them unprofessional for doing it.

Showing off your work doesn’t have to sound like, “Ta da! Aren’t I great?” It doesn’t have to contain even a hint of bragging. There are a host of very dignified and appropriate ways to let a wider audience know how good you are without ever saying so. Here are a few you might try.

1. Writing articles – Putting your expertise in writing and sharing it with publications your audience reads is a powerful — and very professional — way to let more people know about your unique talents. Submit your articles to both print publications and web sites that serve your niche and watch your visibility grow.

2. Public speaking – Appearing as a speaker allows you to broadcast your expertise with three different audiences — the people who attend your talk, the people who are invited by the sponsoring organization but can’t attend, and the people you tell about it before and after. If standing in front of a room makes you too nervous, serve on a panel of experts instead. You’ll get to sit behind a table and speak from notes.

3. Media interviews – Being interviewed by magazines, newspapers, or on radio and television can spread the word quickly about your capabilities. Landing interviews is not that hard to do if you remember to start small. Begin by approaching easy targets like association newsletters, neighborhood newspapers, and local cable programs or talk radio.

4. Telling stories – One of the secrets to effective articles, talks, and interviews is to tell stories about your clients. When you describe their challenges and accomplishments, you reveal the value of your role in helping them without having to boast about it. You can use the same technique in a client presentation to boost your credibility without being arrogant.

5. Testimonials – Whenever you do a good job for a client, ask them to write you a simple thank you note describing what you did to make them happy. Then make their words available on your web site, brochure, or other marketing materials. Let them tell others about your value, and you won’t have to say it yourself.

6. Building a portfolio – It’s not just artists that should capture their best work to show off in a portfolio. You can collect photos, examples, and other evidence of your accomplishments and display them on your web site, in a marketing kit, or with a PowerPoint presentation. You don’t have to sell people on your abilities when they are seeing for themselves what you can do.

7. Creating products – Packaging your work into merchandise that prospective clients can take home and sample gives them a compelling way to discover your real value. Products like ebooks, white papers, and audio recordings allow you to showcase your expertise and increase your credibility. They can often be advertised more widely than your services can, giving you another avenue for getting your name known.

Pick just one of these ideas to pursue and make a plan to showcase what you can do for a wider audience. If you truly want to spend less effort on marketing yourself, start letting your clients know how good you really are.

The Essence of Marketing Success

By Leanne Hoagland Smith 

This past week I had the good fortune to facilitate a working breakfast seminar on marketing at the Hammond Innovation Center. After introductions by those in attendance, I asked everyone to complete this action exercise:

1. Write down your tagline
2. Write down your answer to this question: What do you do?
3. Please share your responses with the group

The responses to the first action item were fair to good. In some instances, the taglines were too long in the sense that most people’s attention is about seven to 10 words or about seven seconds. However, most of these business professionals understood that the tagline was about differentiation.

Separate The “What” From The “How” 

Now the second action item proved to be more difficult. The reason being was the majority of answers focused on the how of what these business people did and not the what.

For example, many business people will answer with one of the following:

I sell houses.
I sell insurance.
I sell … (you fill in the blank).

All of these answers are the how of what someone does. The “what” is the essence or in some cases the results generated by the how.

Understanding this essence of what your solutions (products or services) bring to the customers or clients is critical. This essence becomes part of your overall executive marketing summary and is embedded directly or indirectly in all marketing messages and actions.

Another problem or issue with the given answers was the length of the response. Again, people have very short attention spans. Your response must be compelling in that it stops people (think potential customers) in their tracks. In some cases, you can use humor. However in all cases, the more you are able to emotionalize your message and be emotionally intelligent (EQ) the greater likelihood of marketing success.

Don’t Be A Distraction

Rambling on and on about what you do only distracts your ability to not only attract attention, but to build the relationship. The end result of such rambling is you sound like everyone else and people are running away from you not to you.

The goal of answering this question “What do you do?” is very simple. You want the other person to say “Tell me more” or “That sounds interesting. Can we meet soon to talk more?”

Marketing is all about attracting attention and building a relationship. There is no selling going on. Let me repeat that last statement. There is no selling going on. However, what better way to achieve your marketing goals than by beginning with the results of what you do or as Steven Covey has been quoted, “Begin with the end in mind.”

The Changing Roles of Marketing and Sales Talent

By Kevin Steffey

Social Media Impact on Recruiting Sales and Marketing TalentFew dispute that a key factor for business success is acquiring and developing top talent in key positions.  Key positions in any business are those that drive revenues – namely Marketing and Sales.  With all the talk of social media’s impact on the marketing and sales function of companies, many businesses are trying to identify how to adapt their current people and processes to leverage the new approaches.  As marketing and sales recruiters, Naviga focuses on the people component of change for 100s of companies in North America.  Some of the key changes we are seeing in our clients’ talent needs as a result of these changes are:

  1. In Marketing roles, companies are emphasizing expertise in digital media, including content marketing, social networks, youtube / video marketing, and mobile commerce and apps.  Key skills businesses are looking for include finding and qualifying leads through their online communications channels, and moving them successfully into the sales process.
  2. In Sales roles, our clients look for a proven track record of engagement with clients using creative value-adding strategies. Successful strategic selling leverages digital media and social networks to create bonds with clients.  Top talent leverages these tools to send helpful content to prospects, share information about client interests, or get involved in Groups or causes of interest prospects.  The bottom line is results for sales representatives.  However, the way those results are accomplished and whether reps leverage the new ways to communicate is becoming a key selection criteria.
  3. For leadership positions, it is becoming more critical to show a proven track record of building sales and marketing processes that leverage digital media and social networks to improve the effectiveness of their teams.  As businesses build and enhance their online and social presence, business opportunities come from many different directions and there needs to be a systematic process for collecting and qualifying leads, moving prospects through the sales process efficiently, and closing deals.

There is no doubt the world we live in and the way we communicate has changed dramatically.  Businesses must invest in their teams to develop key skills that can take advantage of these changes and thrive.

Kevin Steffey is President of Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search, a national Sales and Marketing Recruitment firm.  Kevin and Naviga have a passion for sales and marketing positions due to their direct impact on the growth of their customers. Check out to engage a partner in growing and developing your team.