Why effective execution must come first
Managers deserve their organizations
(Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from business performance improvement expert Larry Valant's book, Stop Breaking These Rules! 100 Hard-Hitting Truths for Business Integrity and Performance.)
Managers deserve their organizations.
Having observed literally hundreds of organizations, both large and small, privately and publicly held, spanning a broad range of industries, and through more than four decades, it is absolutely true that much as parents deserve their children, so do managers deserve their organizations and, for ultimately the same reasons.
Because managers establish the objectives, staff, develop, lead and choose how to reward their organizations, what they have built (or in some cases attempted to rebuild) is truly theirs – and they deserve what they have built. Some managers get to be justifiably proud of what they have accomplished – and others ashamed – but either way, they deserve what they have created.
Organizations provide very valuable clues as to the success of these CEOs and business owners. What clues? Are goals understood by everyone? Is on time delivery rare? Is poor behavior tolerated? Do all employees understand how or why performance is rewarded?
When you find an organization in which managers clearly communicate their objectives throughout the organization; where on time delivery is expected and rewarded; where poor behavior is not tolerated; where communications are clear and unambiguous; and where good performance is appropriately rewarded, you will find a manager who deserves to be proud of her organization.
NOTE ON EFFECTIVE EXECUTION: There are talented CEOs, leaders and managers who, lacking effective execution tools and processes, will fail to make plan. Conversely, the average CEO and manager who successfully implements effective execution processes and tools will make plan consistently.
Effective execution is the process through which CEOs make plan.
Those companies that make plan consistently year after year are those that implement processes and systems which ensure their success. While these processes, tools and systems may take a variety of forms, they will always include:
The ability to clarify and quantify expectations
Processes for assuring individual commitment to achieving goals, objectives and deliverables
Methods for unrelenting follow-up
Reward systems tied to quantified performance.
There are talented CEOs, leaders and managers who, lacking effective execution tools and processes, will fail to make plan. Conversely, the average CEO and manager who successfully implements effective execution processes and tools will make plan consistently.
Effective execution improves company performance.
More than 40 years ago, before effective execution was management concept du jour, Valant & Company created a commitment planning system to assure that the companies with whom we worked would execute their plans on time and on budget. We knew that without a process or system to assure execution, all else was for naught.
Throughout the 100, I have given many tips for improving company performance – the importance of identifying goals and objectives quantitatively, the critical need for unrelenting follow-up, the significance of rewarding performance fairly. But the lynchpin is always the system which ensures execution.
If you cannot identify such a system, one that assures absolute clarity of expectations, unambiguous communication, individual commitment to established deliverables and a method for unrelenting follow-up, you don't have an effective means of execution. And, it always comes back to execution!