Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence

By: Lee Colan

How many times have we been told the formula for maintaining a healthy weight is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly? Everybody knows the formula, although sophisticated marketers package it in many creative ways. So if we all know what the formula is, why is it so difficult to apply it to our lives? The secret to losing weight is not in knowing the formula Ė itís in applying what we already know.

Most organizations understand how to develop a strategy, but many fail to successfully execute it. To illustrate this, consider that in a typical year, 40 CEOs from the Fortune 200 are removed from their posts. Why? Of course, some had poor strategies. However, the most common reason CEOs lost their leadership position was because they didnít execute their strategies.

Lack of strategy execution is not isolated to CEOs. Leaders at all organizational levels experience challenges executing their strategies. In fact, the greatest challenge for todayís leaders is not the lack of well thought-out strategies, but the lack of disciplined execution of those strategies. There is a knowing-doing gap. The game is won not by creating new strategies, but by sticking to your current strategy Ė itís called Adherence.

So, how do you achieve Adherence? Based on the experiences of high-achieving individuals and teams, there are three key components of Adherence: Focus, Competence and Passion. The relationship between these three components is best illustrated by a multiplication equation:

Focus x Competence x Passion = Adherence

When you think about Adherence this way, the critical role of each component becomes clear. For example, on a scale from 0 to 10, if one component is missing (i.e., Focus = 0, Competence = 4, Passion = 8), there can be no Adherence.

0 x 4 x 8 = 0

There is also an exponential relationship between the three components. In other words, a higher level of Focus, Competence or Passion will result in an exponential increase in Adherence. As you increase each component, you build momentum toward executing your strategy.

The results of building Adherence can be compared to the results of planting a bamboo seed. When the seed is planted and nurtured, it can take up to two years for a sprout to break through the earth. But once it does, it can grow over 100 feet in two weeks! This accurately describes the journey and benefits of building Adherence.

The ultimate competitive advantage, organizationally or personally, is being the very best at implementing a plan. Your greatest challenge is not creating a new plan. Your greatest challenge is adhering to your current plan. Spend more time on Adherence and less time creating a new strategy.

Letís take a closer look at Adherence. The following sections describe the success factors for each component of Adherence: Focus, Competence and Passion.

Commit to one action YOU can take in the next 24 hours to start improving your teamís Adherence. High-achieving leaders start with themselves. They build personal Adherence before they try to build their teamís Adherence. If your teamís focus is low, look at your personal focus. If your teamís competence is sub-par, look at your own competence. If your teamís passion is faltering, look at your personal passion.

Thatís it. You are on your way to building Adherence for your team!

Now, continue your journey by STICKING TO IT!

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Author Lee J. Colan is a highly sought-after executive advisor and a captivating speaker. He has published six books including the best sellers Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence and Passionate Performance. Learn more by visiting or calling 972-250-9989.

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