It can be said that every individual and every organization executes, and whether it’s done well or not so well makes all the difference in terms of the outcome.
Everything you do at work takes execution. It takes execution to create a strategy. It takes execution to implement a strategy. It takes execution to do all of the day-to-day activities one does in their organization. It all takes execution.
But here’s what’s puzzling. If everything we do takes execution, then how is it that we don’t focus much on our ability to be good at it? Why doesn’t every single leader have execution as the number one issue to pay attention to? More importantly, when are we going to “discover” execution? Continue reading
Hurdle #7: Lack of courage and commitment on the part of the senior executive.
Execution management systems are not for the faint of heart. They require a senior leader that understands that he or she is the one person who has the ultimate accountability for the success of the enterprise. First, he or she must be strong enough to make the decision to move forward and, once made, must have the strength to carry through with it. Continue reading
Hurdle #6: The language of execution must change. Almost all of the words associated with execution have negative connotations in our culture, beginning with the word execution itself, which, of course, has another meaning: “chopping off heads.” We’ve already addressed accountability, which for many people means “somebody is going to beat me up if I don’t do what I was told to do” and even worse, the phrase hold people accountable, which might mean “if I start calling people on their failure to deliver, they’re going to start calling me on mine.” Continue reading
Hurdle #5: The organizational drift is built on avoiding discomfort. If you shy away from using the word culture, as in “corporate culture”, and look for what is actually happening in organizations without the bias that goes with that word, some interesting things open up as possibilities. What most people call culture we call the drift. If you go to a lake and float on your back in the drift, guess in which direction your body will move? It’s the same with an organization – they all have their own drift, the direction everything is going. It’s “how things work around here.”
Hurdle #4: Above all, most people really just want to be comfortable. Much of the resistance to change seems to come from simply not wanting to be bothered by needing to adjust to something new. This resistance is usually reactionary and often blocks the person’s willingness to even listen to why the change needs to happen. Continue reading
Hurdle #3: People don’t keep their promises. If you’re thinking right now “I keep my promises,” you’re in the majority who think that. However, try this challenge: spend the next week being observant of all the promises you make, big and small. This includes all the times you say “I will,” or “I’ll get that done” or “Okay” to a request because if you say you are going to do something, that counts as a promise. Now, during this challenge, pay attention to how often you didn’t follow through on your promises. You’ll be surprised by the results. Continue reading
Hurdle #2: People who have never been held accountable are terrified of the idea of being held accountable. This means almost everybody. Most people have been given accountability for activities or to oversee activities and that’s different than accountability for results. When you are accountable for results it means you have to deliver. If you don’t, you are failing at your job and there are consequences, real or perceived. Only a small percentage of people who comprise the workforce have had this kind of accountability (e.g., commissioned sales people and some entrepreneurs).
Hurdle #1: Every organization believes they have an execution management system. That’s right; every organization believes they have one. The problem is this: it’s not really a system. It’s a bunch of, at best, loosely related individual vehicles for accomplishing different apparent needs to manage execution. One CEO laughed out loud when we said every organization has an execution management system and said, “Yeah, but it’s a rabble!” (We love that word, rabble. It’s was the first time we ever heard it spoken in a sentence). Yes, it’s a disorderly mess. Continue reading
Our definition of execution is the activity of getting things done. Our definition of execution management in an organization is how one manages the multiplicity of what needs to get done. This includes both executing strategy and executing the day-to-day things that comprise the activity of the organization itself – the ordinary conducting of its business. An execution management system is a set of detailed methods, procedures and routines created to carry out and enhance the organization’s ability to execute. Continue reading
What we mean by owning their job is that:
- Every employee fully understands the goals of the company.
- Every employee fully understands their own goals, towards the goals of the company and knows the critical steps necessary to achieve those goals.
- Every employee, on a regular basis, knows how they’re doing against the measures of their goals.
- Every employee knows they’re accountable for results, not just activities.