Execution and Time

“Time is a jet plane. It moves too fast.” – Bob Dylan

When we think of execution we naturally focus on results. Results are the objective. Yet, it takes more than planning for the end-point. Careful consideration of time is an equally important to success.

When a pirate “executes” a prisoner, it happens quickly. Meanwhile, our modern criminal justice system includes fact finding, thoughtful evaluation of evidence, and a lawful judgement. Each step must be followed in sequence and timed to produce the fair result that society demands. All that happens before an accused criminal can be “executed”.

Those examples seem radically different from executing a business plan, but they have more in common than you might think. Nothing can spoil execution more than steps happening too soon or too late. Every important element might be accounted, but without planning with the element of time, chaos is hard to avoid.

Another time issue arises when the environment is moving too fast. After the plan is properly mapped out, if it takes too much time, the plan could be ruined by unanticipated changes outside its original scope.

The solution is to design plans that are plotted on a timeline to coordinate each event. Next, examine the plan as a whole to find ways to shrink the overall length. If the plan still takes too long, examine potential changes in the environment that might upset the plan. When risks are uncovered, edit the plan to account for them.

Flexibility should be included in all plans, especially when time is a wild card.