-THE NECESSITY OF MANDATORY EXECUTION-
An increasingly frequent enterprise performance roadblock is that of individual leaders and/or leadership teams unable to get things done on a timely basis. Analyses are completed, meetings occur, decisions are either avoided or delayed, lists of things waiting to be done lengthen, and results remain constant.
One Midwest USA CEO during our initial meeting on this subject told us several months ago, “I am wondering where the balls are in our ball game”.
This organizational tendency is generally not self-correcting and nearly always has its Genesis in lack of execution on the part of one or several senior and middle executives. And its result tends significantly to be excess headcount that feeds the cancer of metastatic human capital ineffectiveness. Said another way, diminishing human capital productivity is the primary outcome of lacking execution by leaders… and almost always, nothing else.
This form of organizational failure is usually evidenced by increasing numbers of decision, operational and/or financial result deadlines being missed. Inevitably, as this pattern continues for 2 to 4 months the cause of these failures becomes wrongfully as having no connection to the leader(s). In fact, the cause is nearly always what we call “self-contradictory” leaders.
These self-contradictory leaders are usually the individuals who:
◊ are supposedly busy all or nearly all of the time.
◊ when they travel for business, their outgoing voicemail messages say something similar to, “I will have limited access to voicemail and email, so please contact blah-ba-dee-blah for assistance”, while forgetting about their company paid smartphone on their waste.
◊ operate on a late or absent basis under most or all circumstances.
◊ tend significantly to hire and promote “B’s and C’s” instead of “A’s”.
◊ frequently postpone or change discussion and meeting commitments.
◊ are very frequently unwilling to return or at least acknowledge communications on the day any such communication is received.
The role of leaders at any organizational level is to see everything, while doing everything they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it. For instance, if a leader has a seat on Air France Flight #85 leaving for Paris from San Francisco out of Gate 34 at 9:05 PM, and arrives at the correct gate at 9:10 PM, it is no more and no less of a damaging failure than not meeting a business response or result requirement and deadline. Inevitably he or she loses money, misses an opportunity, and/or messes other people up.
When you are able as a leader to see everything, you are also able to see around corners with great accuracy. And on the other side of this particular corner is organizational inefficiency and increased variable costs either created or enabled by the leader who should have learned something important from their failure to board Air France Flight #85.
Some of our most effective solutions to this burgeoning enterprise performance and execution roadblock are:
◊ Include deadline compliance within executive and management reward systems, summing to 15% to 25% of target and actual incentive payouts.
◊ Fully utilize network calendars and define starting and ending times of all calendar items as being mandatory. Be late for and non-responsive to nothing.
◊ Begin and end discussions and meetings precisely on time without regard to who is scheduled to participate but is mistakenly absent. When meetings are scheduled to end, everyone should depart to execute other commitments, including occasionally the commitment to end meetings quickly. And if any meeting should start late, everyone should still depart at the time indicated on their calendar. Meetings that run late cause organizations to run even later.
◊ Quit the nonsense of meetings when all that is necessary is a decision within one’s authority followed by communication of that decision.
◊ Never use an unexpected challenge as an excuse. Unexpected challenges can nearly always be added to one’s calendar for a time 5 minutes to 5 days from now. The only challenges that should change anything are those involving someone either in a hospital or a funeral home.
◊ Operating at the “beck and call” of any person proves that person to be both subservient and lower level. If one is paid less than $40,000 per year and has no employees reporting to them, that is okay.
◊ When surprises happen today, spend less time on each item now waiting to be dealt with. 15-minute conversations can nearly always become 3-minute conversations for the rest of the day.
◊ When another individual fails to execute on a timely basis never do that part of their job for them, and assume no responsibility for their failure.
◊ Respond to every telephone message and every email by the end of that day or by the next morning. And require that all those you interface with do the same. Non-responsiveness is always directly correlated with lack of execution.
◊ Remember that the only opportunity for learning more is when one’s list of things to do is continually either shortened or eliminated. And also, that the only competitive advantage that your enterprise has that costs it nothing happens to be speed.
Nobody ever followed an undependable person anywhere. And just as a rooster crowing does not cause the sun to rise, being busy and failing to execute does not contribute to enterprise performance and success.
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