A very new-age oriented prospective client was questioning me about my two core principles of “Relentless Objectivity” and “Flawless Execution.” His view was that there are things that cannot be objectively assessed that make a difference, like faith, spirit, etc. and that flawless execution is pursuit of perfectionism that is not realistic.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard those arguments so I thought I would write something about it. As usual, please send me thoughts/comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relentless Objectivity is not a replacement for faith, spirit, positivity, or hope. It is simply about honing the ability to remove as much of the personal biases we all bring to any situation and to observe, analyze and understand the impact of our decisions and actions. One of my favorite views on the subject is from Admiral Stockdale, who I met many years ago and who’s book “In Love and War” is one of the most powerful accounts of the Vietnam War I’ve ever read. This is from the Wikipedia bio entry about him: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
As far as flawless execution, it is not about the pursuit of perfection. It is about the pursuit of well thought out plans and the development of solutions that can be executed by “mere mortals” like the rest of us without errors. In business, hope is not a strategy, neither is faith. Maybe it’s because I am an operator and therefore biased and not necessarily relentlessly objective on this matter, but execution is what converts faith to action and translates strategies and hopes to results. I have seen many cases where a mediocre strategy flawlessly executed delivered results far superior to a great strategy poorly executed.
Both principles are not plateaus to be reached but rather a way of thinking and doing business.