Competition is harsh is the world today. Especially if you are in the technology space where borders have a lot less meaning today that it use to. You have to compete globally, with regional specificity (language, culture, regulations…) acting as a delaying factor.
Having a great vision is a definitive must have of course, but the key ingredient to success is really the quality of execution of that vision.
One common problem is that sometimes people with great vision don’t understand technology very well. Of course, they seek to work with great technology leaders but this is a problem that is harder to solve that it seems. If you are not that technical yourself, how do you know who is very good with technology?
People who seems to know more in technology to you may not be up to the challenge. Often, the most impressive people are those who can talk the best about technology not necessarily those who are best at executing. Great teachers, great speakers, great communicators and salesmen can lead you to the impression that they are great in execution but this is in fact seldom the case.
Most of the time, the best people for executing the vision are those people that are completely immerse in their tasks at hand and don’t care that much about appearing as such.
I witness such a case recently where the senior management of a technology company that had a great vision, didn’t know that much about technology and actually was uncomfortable discussing it. Technology was clearly outside their comfort zone and their tendency was to push it down to lower levels.
Without a deep understanding of technology at the higher level, you make yourself an easy target to manipulations and spins. For instance, you may be convinced that your website is a great success and that all the metrics are looking good and are progressing on a great slope, when in fact a deeper analysis reveal that most people land on the site from misleads on search engines and are turning around with a single page view.
This is turn may create the illusion that your vision is well executed and that you are on solid grounds. Then after millions invested and years into your precious “window of opportunity” you realize that it is all fading away, that the execution has not been very good. It is now too late to take corrective measures, you don’t have enough resources left and competition had time to appear and eat your pie.
Problem now is how avoid falling into that trap? How do you know who to trust and who not to trust? What is real, what is a spin? These are hard questions and there no simple recipe to answer that.
However, you need to trace the interests. People generally act for the interests of your organization as seen through the filters of their own interests. So they are going to come up with solutions and tactics that are strangely aligned with their personal interests. People who act first for the long term interests of your business before their own interests are rare but they do exist.
I am a strong believer in long term success over short term interests. My recommendation, search for such people. Believers in principles, solid in execution and who will tell you the reality like it is, not the one that you would like to hear.
Let me know what you think and I will do some more blog postings based on your reactions!