Note: Dwight is currently out on leave so we are running some “best of” blog posts from his writing for the Vistage Executive Street blog that you may not have seen before. Enjoy!
“When every resource in your organization is efficiently and collaboratively working toward a desired end state, without leader involvement in daily activity, you have an execution culture.” - Stuart Orr
In his presentation “Executing Strategy: Unlocking Your Organization’s Market Potential,” Stuart Orr of vision2execution, addressed one of the greatest opportunities for productivity gains in our economy today. He calls it the “vision gap” and cites two powerful quotes to drive his point home.
“The average firm achieves about 63% of its strategic plan.”
- McKinsey & Harvard Business School study
“Only 5% of large-scale changes actually work.”
- John Kotter: HBS author of “A Sense of Urgency”
Stuart digs deeply and delivers practical ways to organize your thoughts and actions so that the team delivers at high levels and has a meaningful experience in the process. What was most exciting to me was how his ideas speak to the question we have asked leaders for years, “what time could you go home if everyone in your organization simply came to work, did their job, and went home.” What’s your answer?
The piece I want to add to Stuart’s approach is that it all starts with you as a leader and your willingness to challenge your own ways of thinking and being in very fundamental ways. If you are not willing to allow deep intervention into your historic assumptions and beliefs, all of which reside in your own mind, his very sound and practical approach will not be heard or processed in a way that leads to new outcomes.
The challenge is neither easy nor a one-time occurrence. Like going to gym, it’s all about repetition and consistency. It is also unlikely you can do it completely by yourself. You already know what your own self-referential thought processes produce – the way that it is and is not for you and your interactions right now.
This is why peer groups like Vistage are so important and perhaps is the explanation why members stay in Vistage groups for 20, 30, and even 40+ years. Having a group of competent people around you who you don’t control and yet who are deeply committed to your success and well being keeps you exploring possibilities versus holding on to past ways of thinking and speaking that are no longer serving you and those around you. If you are not a “group person,” it’s important to do one-to-one work with a coach or some other type of outside support professional.
If you don’t yet have access to a Vistage group, and aren’t ready to hire a coach, download a set of our Operating Principles by clicking here. (These Principles have been developed and road tested with hundreds of people for success during the last 20 years.) Ask yourself, “what might be possible in my interactions and the outcomes I am working on with my team if we were living these principles?”
So as a leader, how much do you want a culture that delivers – an “execution culture?” Are you willing to really challenge your existing mindset? Please be slow to answer…it is not necessarily comfortable. It will take real courage. If you want a culture that delivers it starts with you.