Turn Strategies into Realities: Executing Small Wins to Get Big Breakthroughs

Turn Strategies into Realities: Executing Small Wins to Get Big Breakthroughs

Starting – and growing – a successful business isn’t easy. Many people have great ideas and great passion, but that doesn’t always translate into a successful venture. In fact, only three percent of all U.S. businesses ever grow larger than $10 million. That's why it's important to develop solid business strategies that you can turn into realities. Here are three key ways to develop strategies and execute small wins to get big breakthroughs.

Developing a strategy for success can be overwhelming. You might have a great idea that you think will work, but how do you get started? According to the Conference Board’s most recent survey of CEOs, chief executives are so concerned about strategy execution that they rated it as both their number one and number two most challenging issue. In addition, it’s estimated that more than 60 percent of business strategies are not successfully implemented.

We've asked Patrick Thean, CEO and Co-founder of Rhythm Systems to share his insight with Smart Hustle.

When what’s in front of you seems too big, one way to tackle it is to start by taking smaller wins and build toward that bigger picture.

Visualize Your Strategy

In order to succeed in business, you must also be able to visualize your strategy. You must be able see not only where you want to go, but also how to get there. If you cannot visualize your strategy in action, you’ll have a low probability of success.

In order to visualize a plan of attack, you have to begin with the end in mind. Start by picturing what your end goal looks like and what makes it successful. Imagine where you want your company to be in a year and use this vision to help you determine how to get there.

Whether it’s launching a new product, growing a department or moving into a new office, your executive vision for the company should eventually lead you to where you want to be. With a solid vision in place, you can begin to develop a strategic execution plan to help you get there.

Build Your Execution Plan

One common reason why good ideas fail is the lack of a manageable execution plan. Good business leaders might have a vision for where they want to take the company, but great ones know how to get there step by step.

Start building your execution plan by figuring out what are the top three to four things you need to accomplish in order for the strategy to come to life. For example, if your vision is to launch a new product, you might need to do product research, product development and product marketing. By determining this, you’ll be able focus on key initiatives that will help you develop a successful plan.

Once you know what your key initiatives are, set quarterly goals for each one. Each quarter consists of 13 weeks, so breaking down your quarterly goals into weekly milestones or priorities helps you ensure your team is on the right track to achieve success. Set weekly goals and mini milestones for each department or team, and have them determine what resources or guidance will help them move toward quarterly goals efficiently and effectively.

By breaking down strategies into quarterly and weekly goals, you can earn small wins that will translate into big breakthroughs in the long run. This will also help your team not get overwhelmed by yearlong initiatives that don’t have a clear path.

Don’t Just Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

Now that your execution plan is ready, you’re all set to actually start doing the work – and experience another benefit of weekly and quarterly goals. As any business leader knows, sometimes plans can get off-track. By laying a foundation of clearly stated objectives that need to get done each week, it’s easier to manage hiccups that come up and avoid being blindsided later on.

That’s why it’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to let you know when you and your team need to make some adjustments in order to continue executing toward your goal. KPIs will help you track and test your progress, while also forecasting your results.

Develop KPIs by determining what the success criteria are and how to measure progress. Discuss these KPIs with your team on a weekly basis to make sure you’re still on-track to reach all objectives and initiatives in a quarter. This way, when you discover certain things that aren’t working, you can easily find a solution, get priorities back on track, and continue working towards achieving your milestones.

Once you finish that quarter successfully, take time to celebrate – after all, you deserve it. But the work’s not over yet. Practicing this routine quarter after quarter will help you reach that vision you set out for the company. You will come to find out that breaking down goals into smaller milestones not only helps make them more manageable, giving you a greater chance of reaching goals, but they may also help you to identify other great ideas and goals along the way.


Patrick Thean is the co-founder and CEO of Rhythm Systems. A serial entrepreneur and bestselling author, Patrick is a thought leader in strategic business execution. Along with co-founder Cindy Praeger, Patrick started the company based on the desire to help businesses accelerate their growth by focusing on great execution. They founded Rhythm Systems in 2006 as the industry’s only provider of a complete, cloud-based strategy execution software platform that facilitates airtight execution and measurability for mid-market CEOs. In April 2014, Patrick’s book, Rhythm: How To Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth, reached a No. 3 rating on Amazon’s Kindle best seller list.


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