I was talking with a friend of mine recently who’s a senior executive of a company just north of the Fortune 100. As we were talking, I asked him, "So what do you think separates you from other people? What do you think makes you so good at what you do?" Without hesitating, he said, "Execution. I’m just really good at making sure that what needs to get done gets done. Most people don’t follow through well."
As I reflected on that comment I thought, "Now, isn’t that interesting. Here’s someone who’s had a remarkable career. And yet the one thing he chose to use to explain why he’s had a remarkable career is his ability to follow through and complete the assignments given him." In once sense that sounds so . . . unremarkable. But in another, it’s not. Think about it.
- How many times has someone promised to send you something, and hasn’t?
- How many times has someone said they’d complete a project by x date, and they haven’t?
- How many times has someone promised to make an introduction for you, and they haven’t?
- How many times has someone said they’d meet their plan or objectives in time, and they haven’t?
- How many times has someone promised to raise their game to the next level, and they haven’t?
- How many times has Sears promised to get your appliance to you in a two hour window, and they haven’t?
In other words, in a world full of people (and companies) who don’t follow through well, the person (or company) who executes well is, by definition, remarkable. When a job needs to be done now, this is the person of whom everyone says, "Get me Joe. He’ll get it done!"
Being a metaphor kind of person, I immediately began to think of the image of Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) from "Star Trek:The Next Generation." If you never watched the show, that’s fine–but what you missed out on was watching a great leader in action. And one of enduring lessons about leadership that you would have picked up from Jean-Luc Picard was his favorite line, "Make it so!" Frequently when he would issue an order (or affirm someone else’s decision) he would follow it up with a three word command to execute well, "Make it so!" In other words, don’t think about it. Don’t deliberate about it. Don’t put it off for another day. Don’t do something else. Just, "Make it so!"
So, as you look at your performance in your company or organization, are you a "Make it so!" kind of person? Are you a Jean-Luc Picard? Have you established yourself as the go-to person when a job needs to be done? Do your people or clients or friends know that your word is your bond, that when you promise to do something it’s as good as done? I hope so. However, if not, don’t worry. Today’s a new day. Go ahead and Jean-Luc Picard it! Become a "Make it so!" kind of person. It’s taken my friend to the upper echelons of a global company. Who knows how high it might take you in your organization?