Is your Leadership Enabling Execution?
Updated: May 5, 2021
The economic recovery in 2021 will put a premium on execution. Why? Because the operating environment will be more stable and predictable. 2020 was the year of big strategic changes; in 2021, you just need to execute well.
However, how do we even know how well our organizations are currently executing? Financials cannot give the full picture since they don’t tell us how much better we could perform.
We are a PI Certified Partner because we have a passion for execution - after all, you can only execute through your people. However, there is more to execution than human capital.
We recently became a Line-of-Sight Certified Partner to help our clients execute better. Line-of-Sight looks beyond talent to help you assess the five Key Success factors for Execution (let’s call them KSEs): Strategic Understanding, Leadership, Balanced Metrics, Activities & Structure, and yes, Human Capital.
This week, we are launching a series of short tips on execution. Every week we will discuss how you can improve each of these five KSEs.
Is your Leadership Enabling Execution?
The Importance of Leadership
Execution excellence starts at the top. It is the leadership team’s responsibility to set the foundation of execution by formulating a clear market positioning, communicating it to all employees with credibility, deliberately and thoughtfully managing the changes required to maintain excellence in operations, and being self-aware enough to understand their own strengths and gaps to deliver against their strategic goals.
Is your leadership enabling execution?
Answer the questions below to find out. If you answer “no” at least once, you need to closely assess how well your executive team is leading efforts to both communicate and execute the company strategy:
● Does the leadership team have full credibility with employees to lead the execution of strategy?
● Is the leadership team managing change effectively?
● Is the leadership team clearly communicating the strategy across the company?
● Are the leadership team’s behaviors aligned with their strategic objectives?
The primary responsibility for a high-performing leadership team is to think and work strategically. Yet, the strategic intent should not be a secret known to only the C-suite. In fact, quite the opposite: it must be known and embraced by all employees, so they can own tasks and activities which support these goals. Aligning all tasks and activities to the single purpose of the organization is the secret to execution excellence.
That communication must be credible. Credibility comes from expertise, but also from consistency - consistency in intent (being persistent and resilient in the face of adversity), in messaging (repeating the strategic intent over and over), and in behavior (knowing themselves and being aware of how they communicate and take action). This is especially true for companies that are going through significant change where the employee base needs to be kept especially well-informed.
Most leaders stepped up during the crisis. But the return to growth and greater stability in the post-pandemic should not be an excuse to slacken the effort: more than ever, execution requires leadership to constantly repeat and articulate their vision and goals, and to ensure it is understood and accepted by all.
Walt Disney said, “Your frontline represents your bottom line.” He was known for wandering his parks and asking frontline employees to share Disney’s top strategic priorities with him. Disney knew execution excellence was impossible without the leadership clearly communicating the strategy to every single employee.
In our next blog, we will consider the importance of Balanced Metrics.
How well is your business executing? To find out, please reach out to us and we will initiate an assessment of your execution capabilities.