Ram Charan is an author and adviser to CEOs and senior executives. The fundamental problem in companies is that leaders do not lead for execution, but view execution like an aspect that they can delegate to others. However, execution is not only a tactical aspect of the business. On the contrary, it must be engraved in the corporate culture. To succeed in this endeavor, it is imperative that the leader is personally engaged and committed , and who encourages employees to focus on those processes that make a difference.
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Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, questioning, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability. No company can deliver on its commitments or adapt well to change unless all leaders practice the discipline of execution at all levels. You need robust dialogue to surface the realities of the business. How people talk to each other absolutely determines how well the organization will function. People imitate their leaders.
Leadership without execution is incomplete and ineffective. Leader must show up. You cannot be detached and removed and absent. Good people liked to be quizzed — when you probe, you can learn things and your people learn things. Everyone gains from the dialogue. Rewards and respect are based upon performance. When leader discusses business and organizational issues in a group setting, everybody learns.
Best learning comes from working on real business problems; ask people to work on 3 or 4 issues facing company — form teams to work on those issues. Every leader and supervisor needs to be a teacher. Leader must have emotional fortitude to be able to be honest with yourself; deal honestly with business and organizational realities; or give people forth right assessments.
Emotional fortitude comes from self discovery and self mastery. It is the foundation of people skills. Putting people in the right jobs requires emotional fortitude. Four qualities that make up emotional fortitude include authenticity, self-awareness, self-mastery, and humility.
It tells people what in the organization is valued and recognized. You cannot have an execution culture without robust dialogue; one that brings reality to the surface through openness, candor, and informality. Good motto: truth over harmony.
Harmony can be the enemy of truth. Formality suppresses dialogue; informality encourages it. It invites questions, encourages spontaneity and critical thinking. The culture of a company is the behavior of its leaders.
Leaders get the behavior they exhibit and tolerate. The more you get involved and the better you hash the issues out on the table, the better decisions you will make in terms of their resolution.
In successful businesses, leaders focus intensely and relentlessly on people selection. Leaders must be personally committed to the people process and deeply engaged in it. When the right people are not in the right jobs, the problem is visible and transparent.
Doers energize people; they are decisive on tough issues, get things done through others and follow through as second nature. Getting things done through others: fundamental leadership skill: if you cannot do it, you are not leading. When the wrong people get rewarded, the whole organization loses. Mechanical evaluations miss how candidates performed in meeting their commitments. Meeting them the wrong way can do enormous damage to an organization. Nowhere is candid dialogue more important than in the people process.
Must be able to speak forthrightly in evaluating others, if not, evaluation is worthless. The people process is more important than either the strategy or operations processes. Traditional people process; backward looking, focused on evaluating the jobs people are doing today. More important to determine if individuals can handle the jobs of tomorrow. Meeting strategic milestones greatly depends on having a pipeline of promising and promotable leaders.
Strong leadership pipeline based on good information. Application: 1. A leader just does not sign off on a plan. She wants an explanation and she should drill down until the answers are clear. Work on the personal connection everyday and every way you can. Show up with an open mind and a positive demeanor, be informal and have sense of humor.
Focus on a very few clear priorities that everyone can grasp. Strive for simplicity in general. Speak simply and directly. Ask people to work on 3 or 4 issues facing company: form teams to work on these issues. Need to make judgments about which people have the potential to get something useful out of a course and what specific things you are trying to use education to accomplish.
Gain experience in self-assessment. Must change the beliefs and behavior of people in ways that are directly linked to bottom — line results. Do not reward individuals for just strong achievement on numbers but also on the desirable behaviors that people actually adopt. Increase population of A-players: those who are tops in both behavior and performance. Search for people with an enormous drive for winning.
Never finish a meeting without clarifying what the follow-through will be; who will do it; when and how they will do it; what resources they will use; and how and when the next review will take place and with whom.
Personally check references. Look closely at how the people under review met their commitments. When identifying high-potential and promotable people, avoid two dangers: organizational inertia keeping people in the same jobs for too long ; and moving people up too quickly.
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
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