Achievement and execution are always a hot button issue in our society, we are always asking questions like: How do we get higher level achievers? How do we achieve more professionally? etc etc. Getting better at execution means getting better at one thing and that one thing is setting goals.
Part of the reason we haven't achieved at a higher level collectively, which we are now as a society starting to look, has to do with an archaic look at achievement and where are focus should be. The other reason has to do with the fact that it's difficult to execute nothing. When you don't set goals and commit them to writing, that's exactly what you are doing. Working hard to execute on nothing.
You may have certain work tasks that you need to accomplish that are written down but don't mistake those for personal goals. Those tasks will do a great deal for your employer but they wont do much for you beyond a 3% raise and an “atta boy or girl”.
Business owners run into this same problem as many of them at the onset fail to set personal goals as well as put together a business plan. Lack of business planning makes almost every list of reasons why small businesses fail. The reason why business owners don't put together business plans is because generally speaking we fail to set goals as a society.
When you consider that roughly 3-5% of Americans actually put goals down on paper, it's not as surprising that business owners don't do the same for their business.
The point is that if you want to do a better job of executing a plan, we need to have a plan in the first place. It's much easier to execute and achieve our goals when they are fully articulated on paper.