Failure to execute

I was fortunate enough to meet and consult with the owner of one of the largest shipping companies in the Philippines. The original scope of the consulting engagement was to review and improve their Account Receivables. They had so much outstanding collections that it was affecting their cash flow. This causes the company to take on loans to cover their payables. Millions of pesos loaned generates interest payments to banks.

To get an appreciation of their business, the conglomerate has over 40 companies under a holding company. These 40 company CEOs report to a group CEO. The group CEO is the child of the founder. Upon taking over the business, the group CEO had the business savvy to grow the business from one company to over 40.

Our second meeting revolved around how we will charge for our consulting service. We came in with a pricing based on estimated effort required to do the job. We charge, like most consulting firms in the world, on a per hour basis. The client proposed to pay us based on a percentage of the amount we will recover. My partners and I came back with a combination of both approaches.

In one of the meetings, the group CEO expressed frustration over their strategy and plans. Projects that were started ten years ago has not yet seen the light of day. Projects would inch forward when it had executive attention. Projects comes to a halt when the Group CEO needed to focus on more pressing matters.

The group CEO had requested that we change the focus of our consulting proposal. Their bigger challenge was the effective execution of their strategies and plans. The group CEO fully understood that success in resolving day to day challenges was largely dependent on how they execute projects designed to resolve them.

This became our scope of work for the next few months. Here is a summary of the lessons learned from the engagement:

  1. When we assign projects to employees, we need to train them on project management fundaments. We trained over 40 managers on a one day program we called ‘Project Management for none Project Managers’.

  2. For projects to succeed, the progress (or lack of) needs to be reviewed on a regular schedule. We requested the group CEO, COO and CFO to be part of the Steering Committee. These group of executives reviews project progress, gives guidance to the project and help resolve very difficult challenges.

  3. Projects are created because there is a business benefit to it. A project will either increase revenue or reduce loss/expense.

  4. Most projects fail because project managers do not spend effort identifying and preventing what can go wrong. They simply react.

There are a lot more learnings that our client picked up from the engagement. The four we listed above are just a few of them.

We always preach to our clients (or potential clients) that strategies are useless unless effectively executed. We would rather have a mediocre strategy properly implemented than a great strategy frozen in time.

If you believe that effective execution of your plans will help your company rise to the next level, feel free to reach out to us. We have a FREE 90 minute Power talk that will give you an insight on how we help companies execute their plans.