Implementation – the discipline of getting things done

An executive team may have a plan for the business, and it might be a very good plan, and yet they might struggle to implement it on a day-to-day basis – and get the desired, measurable results.

In our experience, there are perfectly good reasons for this – and yet there are no good excuses.

The first reason is that running the business on a day-to-day basis – dealing with the crises that pop up routinely and unexpectedly – can move the focus of those who implement your strategy from the long-term to the very short term.

We call this, ‘Being Caught in the Windstorm.’

The second reason is that implementation of your strategy must occur within the context of a culture of accountability and the effective processes to drive it. Simple stuff, and yet very profound and a complete prerequisite for getting results. Many people tell us this is common sense – and our experience is that it is not common practice.

Our Getting Execution Right strategy implementation process always gets customized around your particular business realities, is delivered in a two-day workshop for a team of managers whose responsibility is to drive growth in the business, and is supported by a coaching process to enable Getting Execution Right to take root.

We have most recently delivered this product to a multinational energy company. One of the country managers recently said this about our work with him:

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Getting Execution Right – product overview

The rationale for this product

The leaders of many organizations use their annual strategy session, often off-site, to fine-tune their strategic direction and set objectives.

For many of these, the strategy thus derived might be shared with their colleagues in the organization at an all-hands meeting as a set of PowerPoint slides. And for many, we find that a few months after these meetings, most of their colleagues in various parts of the organization have still not been exposed to what was worked out at the off-site strategy session.

It is not hard to see why this strategy has very little chance of implementation.  Our product Getting Execution Right is designed to take a strategy and get it fully implemented in the organization so that a year later the intended results have been achieved.

The business process

The input to the process is your strategy document. We typically meet with a group which is slightly larger than your strategy development team, and help you identify your Key Growth Levers. We have a rigorous process for assessing and prioritizing these.

In many cases we will embed the process of Getting Execution Right in a business transformation exercise, using a metaphor of some kind. Getting accountability to work in an organization is absolutely critical to ensuring that strategy gets executed. To this end, we will often introduce our concept of Radical Clarity™ to ensure that the honest (read ‘hard’) conversations happen when they need to. In many organizations where leaders are conflict diverse (because they associate honest conversations with contention and discord.

We then work with functional teams to understand how the work will be done to enable the growth levers to find application. We create what are called ‘Winning Actions’ and ‘Predictive Measures’ to chunk the work into 30-to-60-day segments. Finally we introduce a process called ‘Stand Up and Be Counted,’ in which the cadence of weekly accountability is established.  Read more