In today’s highly competitive business landscape, the ability to execute on strategies and deliver results is crucial for the success of any organization. It is not enough to develop a sound strategy; companies must ensure that their employees are able to effectively implement and execute these plans. After all, a strategy without proper execution is destined to be fruitless and can lead to frustration among all stakeholders involved.
In order to foster an execution-oriented organization, companies must take proactive steps to maximize execution by their employees. This requires an effort to align organizational goals, empower individuals, and provide the necessary resources and support for successful execution. To help you on this journey, I present five proven steps to maximize execution today.
1. Set fewer Goals 🎯
When your partner asks you to pick up three items from the grocery store and then adds a fourth item to the list, it becomes challenging to remember that additional item. This scenario reflects the importance of simplicity in goal communication within companies. By keeping goals simple and setting a limited number of them, employees are more likely to remember and prioritize them effectively. It’s as simple as that—fewer goals lead to better goal retention among employees.
Challenge yourself to restrict the number of goals set at the organizational level. More and more companies are adopting terminology such as “Rocks,” “Wildly Important Goals” (WIGs), “Big Hairy Goals,” or “Must Win Battles” to evoke a sense of urgency regarding their objectives. While this is an effective approach to emphasize the most important goals, it is crucial to remember that no more than three goals should be set at the organizational level. Set fewer goals to ensure focused execution to maximize the chances of achieving those key objectives.
*McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. The 4 Disciplines of Execution.
2. Accountability and clarity 🧹
Let’s face it, businesses are complex, and the larger company you have the more complexity you will get. Creating clarity is still one of the most important challenges for leadership these days. Still, this does not need to get over-complicated, creating an overview and documenting what teams are responsible for is a great first step.
This documentation will help you to clarify if problems occur when teams are working on similar initiatives. When there are conflicting projects leadership needs to step in and create clarity about who owns what for continuous execution and progress. Create accountability and clarity to make sure teams and people are streamlined
3. Empower Employees 🦸🏼♂️
Creating a culture where individuals are afraid to make decisions will lead to a passive organization that relies solely on instructions before taking action. When an employee seeks advice on a particular matter, it is best to empower them to judge the next steps and make decisions themselves. After all, employees have extensive education, handle personal responsibilities, and are in control of various aspects of their lives, both inside and outside of work.
As a manager, it’s important to recognize that you may not always know what’s best. Instead, encourage employees to make decisions. Of course, you can always share your perspective on how you would approach the issue, but remember that there is no singular path to success. By allowing employees to make decisions and fostering a decentralized leadership approach, you can cultivate an execution-oriented culture that values autonomy and accountability. After all with more execution, more learning will come.
4. Focus on Lead Measures 🏃🏿♀️
Too many companies focus solely on lagging metrics, which means the results already happened. Instead, focus on Lead Measures, these are metrics that individuals and autonomous teams can impact on a daily basis. Ask yourself, will your company sell more when summarizing the quarter or will you sell more by shipping more campaigns, launching new features, making more phone calls and outreach, and spending time with customers? Focusing on getting better and improving on the later the employees can affect, and it is learnings from executing lead measures that will grow your company.
Of course, it is also important to summarize the profit and loss each month (lagging measures) to understand your progress, I am just suggesting a better balance.
5. Visualize and get competitive 🚦
In a compelling dashboard, you should in 1-3 seconds see how you are progressing toward your goals. You should have a board for Company, Team, and Me and when the accountable person looks at it the person should get competitive and want to walk the extra mile.
But how do you get people to walk the extra mile? If you include them set the goal! Of course!
You can not sit behind a person and micro-manage that person, you have other things to do, like executing! If you want employees to execute, also sit down with them and agree on what would be compelling goals and initiatives to work towards (of course they need to be linked to the overall company goal).
Let people be responsible over their own dashboard will keep them motivated and competitive to always be better than yesterday.
I have always been fascinated by why we spend so many hours in meetings and strategizing and get so little out of these discussions. To execute is fun and you create a vibrant and winning culture from it, can we spend a little less time in meetings please? I challenge you to:
1. Set simpler and fewer goals.
2. To create accountability among teams and individuals
3. Empower people to make decisions
4. To focus on things individuals can impact on a daily basis
5. To have dashboards where you in 1-3 seconds can see how you are progressing