Ravi Kathuria: How implementation is as key in the boardroom as it is on the gridiron

Ravi Kathuria, president, Cohegic Corp.

Ravi Kathuria, president, Cohegic Corp.

Only the teams that execute their plays flawlessly stand a chance of winning the National Football League’s Super Bowl. That fundamental truth applies as much to football as it does to business.

Execution ingredients

Flawless execution involves discipline, focus, sense of urgency and resonance. Execution is not about brute force. Brute force works for short bursts, but it is unsustainable in the long term. Brute force can quickly become unproductive. It can lead to internal skirmishes, emotional wear and tear and burnt-out team members.

Discipline and consistency

Execution requires strict discipline. Companies often fail to take their ideas to fruition because they lack follow-through. They celebrate their “big-idea” executives more than the executives who quietly make it happen behind the scenes.

In such companies, ideas are typically launched with great fanfare only to be lost in the day-to-day firefighting, never reaching culmination.

Celebrating big moves is human nature. As the viewing public, we tend to enjoy and celebrate more the quarterback who occasionally throws an 80-yard pass than a quarterback who boringly but consistently moves the ball forward 10 yards with each play.

Football and business victories are achieved not on occasional showmanship but on the shoulders of consistent and disciplined execution.


Execution requires a vigilant effort to stay focused and make progress in spite of compelling organizational distractions.

For instance, if the visiting team has to win, it has to learn to tune out the roar and visible displeasure of the home crowd and not let any referee bias toward the home team affect its concentration.

Sense of urgency

Teams that win big do not wait until the second half or the last few minutes of the game’s fourth quarter to show their top form. The big winners apply themselves from the start and maintain the pressure on the opponent.

Companies must instill a sense of urgency that becomes part of the organizational fabric rather than be driven only by events such as the end of a calendar quarter or a looming deadline. The best teams do not come from behind to win; they maintain an infallible lead.


Flawless execution is not achieved by accident. It is not driven by serendipity. A team that has not practiced diligently during the regular season and perfected its strategy will find it difficult to rally at the last minute and beat the opponent’s superior execution.

The strengths of talent, teamwork, coaching and superior strategies must be harnessed in a systematic and cohesive manner to prepare the team so it can perform at its best level.

The team must constantly be reminded that execution is the goal. They might be very talented, but if they cannot coordinate on the field and deliver results, that talent is of little use.


Prepare and win your company’s Super Bowl of business execution every time.

The teams that understand execution execute with a lethal rhythm. They are unfazed by the success or failure of the previous play or the previous game. They focus only on the present play and game. Their resonance is their real strength. They become an engine, an engine with the right hum — unstoppable and unbeatable.

Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and WorldNews, Ravi Kathuria is a recognized thought leader. Featured on the “BusinessMakers” show, CBS Radio, and “Nightly Business Report,” he is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “How Cohesive is Your Company?: A Leadership Parable.” Kathuria is the president of Cohegic Corporation, a management consulting, executive and sales coaching firm, and president of the Houston Strategy Forum. Reach him at (281) 403-0250 or [email protected]