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Why Thinking Big is Not Enough (The truth about Execution)

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Thursday, September 6, 2018

By Alonzo Adams

When a strategy looks brilliant, it’s because of the quality of execution. In 1982 Paul McCarthy told Michael Jackson about the value of a song catalog by Lennon-McCartney that he wanted ownership of during the sessions for their 1982 collaboration "Say, Say, Say.

Michael called his attorney John Branca to obtain the catalog, no matter the cost. In late 1984, Jackson submitted an offer of $46 million. It took a year of bidding against others — including British industrialist Richard Branson. Everything took a long time. Negotiations for the catalog moved at a snail's pace, as the parties debated on the issues of price, warranties and the structure of the deal.

1985 Jackson paid a then-unheard-of price of $47.5 million for ATV's 4,000-song catalog for $47.5 million, becoming the owner of the approximately 250 Lennon-McCartney songs, as well as tracks by Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Hank Williams, Little Richard, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and more.

Michael took ownership of one of the most valuable catalogs in music history. McCartney was not pleased to learn that his supposed friend bought the rights to his songs. The shrewdest move of his 40-plus-year career. Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson never worked together again.

In 1995, Jackson sold 50 percent of ATV to Sony for $95 million, a sale that created the music publishing company Sony/ATV. In March 2016, seven years after Jackson’s death, Sony/ATV agreed to pay $750 million to Jackson’s estate to buy out his 50 percent share of the company.

There are business owners who attend conventions, conferences, seminars, and search Facebook group searching for ideas and tactics. They give their management team notes and handouts from the events and expect their team to implement the new plan or policy as quickly as possible. The owner sits back and hopes the ideas are going to get implemented while never thinking who they are giving the task for execution.

Three things need to happen for successful execution.

  • The goals must be clear for everyone in the company, which are supportive of the overall strategy.
  • You must have a way of measuring progress toward the goals on a regular basis
  • Accountability must be clear for progress

Paul had a great idea, but he wasn’t deliberate in his strategy or execution, and it remains an idea. Michael and his attorney John Branca created a strategy to get the catalog, and the plan was executed.


Like most entrepreneurs, Michael and Paul were visionaries, people who have big-picture thinking and lots of ideas. If you are a visionary, you need an integrator. An integrator is a person who can execute follow through. Someone who removes obstacles and finds a resolution. Integrators have the ability to clarify and communicate the objective, so everyone understands.


See Michael's attorney John Branca is also serves as Co-Executor of Jackson's Estate. He is an integrator who can drive execution. Michael chose John because he understands the process and discipline to get things done. If you don't get the people right, the strategy doesn't matter, and if you don't get the people right, you won't get the execution. Companies can get by with sloppy execution, but there is a price to be paid. To grow your business and be super successful you need to create a culture of execution.




About Alonzo Adams, President, Busy Bee Cleaning Company

Alonzo is one of our speakers this year at the ISSA Show in Dallas. For more on his session, click here.

Alonzo is living testament you can maximize opportunities if you free yourself from limited beliefs. He turned a small cleaning company he started out of his one-bedroom apartment and turned it into one of the most successful independent residential cleaning companies in the world. His company Busy Bee was awarded the Best House Cleaning Company in Philadelphia by Philadelphia Magazine. They are first and only cleaning companies to receive this honor multiple times.

In 2010 he was elected President of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International. Alonzo's keynote speeches have inspired organizations, business leaders, and associations throughout the country to think big, be courageous, and take chances.

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