The difference between good and great companies is their ability to get things done and to execute religiously on their promises. Having outstanding business models, being very innovative, selling the best technologies is not enough if your company sucks at execution. I see this time and time again and I volunteer feedback to some of them in hopes that they will improve. Being creative AND getting things done is a very powerful combination of skills and capabilities. You rarely see this in leaders or in organizations.

I conjecture that business model innovation and success requires strong discipline and that this execution focus is essential for survival.

When they possess that combination of skills, they are usually unstoppable (Netflix, Chipotle, Amazon and even some industrial companies like 3M, Grainger and ARDEX for example). Most companies struggle with one of the two dimensions. That typically leads to the tolerance for mediocrity and a diluted customer experience despite having exciting offerings or business models. Starbucks for example lacks the discipline in customer experience and delivery. Some of their stores are dirty, poorly laid out, and very slow in service delivery. This lack of consistency is not found in Chipotle stores where employees religiously deliver an outstanding experience.

Another example is BusinessModelGeneration/Strategyzer; they are in the business of value proposition and business model generation. Their offering actually centers around customer experience, strategy, and innovative approaches. Yet, they are not able to plan their own 2014 US workshops for busy executives (the next one is supposed to happen in April) and they are really unfriendly when you contact them (if you get a response to emails!). This is really puzzling. What is behind this lack of attention to delivery excellence and execution?

I would propose that it is complacency with success and growth. These organizations adopt a position that they are unique and that customers will come or buy anyway. That may work in the short term until a competitor emerges and forces them to shape up. I conjecture that business model innovation and success requires strong discipline and that this execution focus is essential for survival. Organizations should pay attention to the creative and disruptive sides of their business model as well as the kick-ass execution of the business model components. This is the difference between good to great. Innovation is great. Innoxecution is better!