You may have noticed a recent post or two about car troubles. It’s been a crazy season for breakdowns in my house. In the last five weeks, both our cars have broken down (multiple times), the freezer quit, then the fridge started freezing our food. We even had to fix the kitchen sink, and not just in the proverbial sense.
These crisis repair sessions drove home in my own life what I’ve been talking about with my leadership development clients: Your strategy doesn’t matter if you can’t execute the fundamentals with excellence. Tweet This
In my family, the fundamentals are food, transportation, and a working kitchen sink. When they break down, everything else stops. In soccer, it’s the ability to kick the ball accurately, the fitness to run for a long time, etc. If those fundamental skills aren’t strong, it doesn’t matter what formation you use. For Chick-fil-A, it’s things like friendliness and speed. For manufacturing companies, it’s things like quality and downtime. And for leaders, it’s things like interpersonal communication and delegation.
For years I dismissed the importance of punctuality. I was a big picture guy, not a details guy, right? But I found that for some of my followers, my vision didn’t matter if I couldn’t be on time.
The fundamentals are not exciting, alluring skills. But nothing else is possible unless you get them right. And many of the best got to the top just by doing the basic things better than anyone else. Everyone in his day knew Vince Lombardi’s sweep play. It wasn’t a secret strategy. But he coached his teams to execute it so well they won multiple NFL championships, often running that play eight or nine times in a row, marching down the field to score.
What are the fundamentals in your personal life? In your organization? Many of my clients, recently, have listed out each of their fundamentals, then rated themselves 1-5 on how well their organization delivers on those (5 being awesome). If it’s not all 4’s and 5’s, then maybe you should slide that area to the top of your development plan.
Because your strategy doesn’t matter if you can’t execute the fundamentals with excellence.