Article

8 Questions to Ask to Speed Business Execution

by Staff Writer

If you want your business to succeed, speed isn’t just important — it’s everything.

“Speed is fundamental,” says Heidi Pozzo, an executive coach for C-suite business leaders and author of Leading the High-Performing Company. “Speed is the difference in satisfying customer needs, it impacts the cost structure of the business, and it allows the company to be high-performing, not underperforming. It really is fundamental to how a business operates.”

When businesses are slow to execute, the costs range from missed opportunities to grow market share to poor employee morale, Pozzo says. A culture of fast, smart execution is a sign of strong corporate health.  

How can your team pick up the pace? Here are eight questions to ask yourself to help speed up business execution within your organization.

1. What Is Each Person’s Role and Responsibility?

One of the key things that slow businesses down is a lack of clarity among team members about project goals and their role in achieving them.

presenting to full conference room

Once you’ve determined each person’s role, it’s important to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of their responsibilities, including specific tasks, how they will access tools and information they need along the way, and project milestone and deadlines.

2. What Resources Will We Need and When?

Not having the resources you need can keep you from achieving your goals, whether you’re limited by budget, skilled labor, or even just the right information.

Determine your needs for the full project cycle upfront to ensure you don’t waste any time waiting on something you need to move forward.

3. How Will We Know the Project Is on Track?

It’s important to not just to have a plan for how things will get done, but also for how you will know throughout the project period that things are on track.

working at desk

Once you have a project plan in place, taking a few minutes to set up automated notifications, update requests and other milestone reminders can save as much as an hour of manual effort every day.  

4. What Are the Bottlenecks or Challenges We Might Face?

You can take a proactive approach to address challenges by identifying possible roadblocks in your execution plan. By having contingency plans in place, you can reduce the risk of project slowdowns and stalls as you scramble to find a solution.  

5. How Will We Know If There’s a Problem?

Companies can waste a lot of time letting problems steer them in the wrong direction or grow out of control. And a big part of the reason problems go unresolved is that no one is even aware they’re happening.

reviewing project details for problems

As you plan your project or workstreams, it’s important to not only think about how you will know things are going right but also what to look for if they start going wrong. Think early indicator, not red flag. This will help you spot and address issues quickly and effectively.

6. What Tools Can Help Speed Things Up?

From automated notifications to take the manual effort out of project tracking, to video-conferencing that cuts travel time for project-related meetings, what tools can make executing faster and easier for your team?

Look for tools that can help improve the ease of information sharing and collaboration between parties as well as more specialized resources that can assist with your particular project requirements. Consider a work execution platform that integrates with many of the tools your team already uses to help work get done faster.

7. What Would Happen If We Cut This Step, Feature, etc...?

An abundance of input and ideas can add unnecessary complexity that can slow down your work. But it may be that you can skip a step or two without having much of an impact on your results.

viewing project plan on computer

As you develop a workflow or specification, think about how necessary each item is to achieve your final goal. Next, categorize each into necessary, nice to have, and unnecessary. Then cut anything you deem unnecessary.

8. What Would an Iteration Plan Look Like?

In answering the previous question, it’s clear how to handle items that are classified as necessary and unnecessary. But what about the nice-to-haves?

It may be that you can speed up execution by taking an iterative approach. For example, if you’re launching a product, launch with a more basic version and then add new features over time.

Iterating is common in startups, who often quickly launch a “minimum viable product”—minus all the bells and whistles. In addition to helping you speed up cycles, this approach has the added benefit of allowing you to validate your concept at a more minimal investment level.