Great Strategy Deserves Strong Execution. After a rough patch, board members are confident that their new strategic plan brings the Association closer to their business objectives. Board leaders are energized too, and they’ve debriefed their CEO and have requested a three year action plan with measurable results.
Genius Inventor Thomas Edison knew that transformation required more than good ideas when he said “Vision without execution is hallucination.” In a 24-7 world, execution is no longer a tactic, it must be a strategy for any Association or business venture. After all, Boards measure results and these are achieved on the basis of solid execution.
Execution is a Strategy and Not a Tactic
“Execution has to be in the culture” notes Larry Bossidy, former Chairman and CEO, Honeywell International, and Corporate Strategist Ram Charan, publishers of EXECUTION, The Discipline of Getting Things Done, 2002 and 2009. The authors convey powerful examples of CEO’s who succeeded and failed based on their capacity to execute strategies.
Board members live in corporate cultures where metrics and data driven strategies define success or failure for their companies and their shareholders. They bring this proclivity into Association Board rooms and expect Chief Executives and their leadership team to provide them with action plans including metrics, dates and measurable results.
When the Board enthusiastically presents the newly minted strategic plan, they expect a power packed action plan matching and exceeding their expectations. Now what?
Execution Delivers Measurable Results
Measurable results are not about instilling fear, but about building a culture of expectation for Association staff. As leaders, CEO’s have the capacity to recalibrate and define expectations throughout the year. They can shift gears and utilize the new strategic plan to swing into immediate action.
CEO & Senior Management Teams own their execution, however it’s the Chief Executive who sets the tone and manages to the new expectation.
4 Steps to Strong Execution
1. Define Execution – Meet off-site with Senior Managers to formulate execution strategies. Be clear, the success measurement of the session is action plans, dates and measurable results. CEO’s should accept nothing less, and lead an energizing and optimistic session making execution the only outcome that matters. Capture specifics and schedule a second meeting.
2. Put Pieces in Place to Execute Effectively – At this meeting the CEO and Senior Managers need to align position descriptions, performance objectives and compensation. Each amplifies the execution mandate and the compensation plan should motivate the staff team to always exceed expectations.
3. Staff Assessment – Steps 1 and 2 are crucial, yet execution is only possible when Associations have the skills that match the execution expectation in place. As leaders, an honest and objective review will insure that they are putting the best team possible on the field to compete and win.
4. Communication – W. Edwards Demming guides leaders to “inspect what you expect.” If execution and measurable results are expected, then CEOs, Senior Managers and Supervisors must meet with direct reports on a regular basis, offer balanced feedback and focus on execution of objectives.
Great Strategy Deserves Strong Execution
Following a record revenue losing year from weak execution, an Association Senior Manager embraced a similar 4 step approach and never looked back. Multi year growth performance followed while everyone reveled in a new culture of execution.
In the 2004 movie depiction of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team’s breathtaking win over the mighty Soviet Hockey team, Coach Herb Brooks said that “Great moments are born from great opportunity.” CEOs’ opportunity rests inside a culture of execution. If Board members expect their Associations to heed their clarion call, then Associations need a culture of execution to deliver measurable results.
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