Five Rules to Business Execution Essay
It is often argued that successful organizations “plan their work and work their plan”. Every organization has a strategy outlining the future targets and goals to be accomplished. The strategy adopted by an organization provides a direction towards a desired end. Accomplishment of strategies requires appropriate allocation of resources. Therefore, the decision makers of an organization need to effectively undertake policy deployment in consideration of the numerous factors facing the firm as at the given period (Aziza & Fitts, 2010). Business execution requires specific procedures and adherence to certain rules for successful realization of the set objectives. Business executives need to focus on the things considered vital for the execution, determine the most important things that affect other things, establish good metrics and reward systems as well as employ a culture of accountability. These rules are important for successful execution of business strategy. Indeed, careful consideration of the rules of execution provides an opportunity for business organizations to achieve set objectives through efficient allocation of organizational resources.
Focus on the Vital Few
Business execution is a process that requires an aspect of excellence by the stakeholders if the firm has to achieve profitability and sustained efficiency in its operations. During the difficult times, there is a tendency for business executives to abandon principles associated with effective execution in an attempt to act promptly and take command of things. Indeed, effectiveness in leadership depends on the clarity of goals as well as a persistent attitude towards the execution of organizational strategy. Such an undertaking is effective in creating an environment of optimism and trust among organizational stakeholders (Youden et al., 2010). Effective leadership is crucial in determining the most important roles to be undertaken first to facilitate the accomplishment of the set objectives. The organizational leadership differentiates the various goals to be undertaken and determines the most crucial ones at the given time.
A deficiency of the ability to make the right decisions is always very detrimental to an organization. In particular, if an organization is not well endowed with good management, there can be very serious difficulties in making decisions that are vital for the overall success of the organization. Additionally, execution is an important skill required by the executives whose deficiency can be very costly. With over 70% of the strategies adopted by organizations failing due to poor execution, there are serious reasons to carefully consider execution (Aziza & Fitts, 2010). Execution of strategy has therefore become a very important consideration for CEOs and leadership teams.
On a general view, organizations have numerous overriding goals competing to be accomplished at any given point. At the same time, there is a limitation of resources for organizations in that they cannot be in a position to commit these resources to the multiple functions requiring accomplishment. Therefore, it becomes highly important for organizations to choose only a few but highly critical goals to be accomplished first (Gupta, 2006). Prioritizing is an important aspect of business execution as it ensures that only the most important goals are pursued while leaving the non-important ones. There is need for all the goals to be prioritized on a C-suite cascading from the most important one to the least important. The goals also require teams to be assigned roles to pursue based on order of merit. Such teams should have a complete understanding of the requirements for each role and fully own the assigned role.
Teams should be assigned a given unit of the goal to be executed and work towards the process of developing accountability. It is important for business-unit leaders to develop good   working relations with the staff members within their teams as well as those from other teams. For success in each vital goal to be realized, it is required that leaders clearly articulate these goals to the members (Youden et al., 2010). Role multiplicity can be very confusing and can result to non-accomplishment of the set goals or poor performance. Therefore, it is essential that teams are assigned roles that are within their capability to accomplish. Additionally, when one team is assigned numerous roles, there is a high likelihood that vital goals will be disregarded. Articulating the most important goals to the employees sets the stage for staff commitment and devotion. Organizational members should understand role interconnectivity. This is particularly important as it creates an atmosphere for collaboration and elimination of rivalry among different teams.
Determining what is good enough for the rest
There are actions that have a ripple effect on the overall entity. Such actions are very crucial in that their failure can lead to very severe outcomes for the whole organization. The management needs to identify the various actions and their implications on the overall attainment of organizational goals. Specific measures have an effect on the overall goal achievement. Therefore, it is imperative that leaders identify such lead measures and link the different teams to such actions (Charan, Bossidy & Burck, 2012). In particular, it is a crucial requirement that decision makers determine the most important actions for the sustenance of organizational goals. The process of execution is often owned by the leader who eventually empowers the team members to participate fully in the process of implementation.
There is always an element of intellectual challenge whenever execution is involved. It is no wonder that leaders should analyze the issues to be undertaken deeply while considering the demanding nature of the execution environment. It is a crucial requirement that the right questions are asked. Successful implementation of business strategy requires the right people deployed to undertake the execution (Aziza & Fitts, 2010). The assigned individuals should collectively undertake to pursue the assigned roles with devotion. Determining what is good for the rest is an important step for the attainment of organizational objectives. The prevailing difference between a strategy and successful execution lies in the determination of what is good enough to influence the whole process of strategy execution.
With the ever increasing complexity of modern workplaces especially pertaining to the innumerable strategic imperatives, there is a compelling need for organizational leaders to carefully scrutinize the goals that are influential on the accomplishment of other important organizational objectives. This is possible with adequate prioritization and strategic analysis. Indeed, Pareto’s law is an important guideline towards the successful determination of the ‘good enough’ activities (Gupta, 2006). According to this law, 20 % of the activities acted on yield 80% achievement of the other activities associated with the attainment of organizational goals. Such activities are very crucial for the attainment of organizational objectives to the extent that decision makers need to carefully consider such activities. An effective leader needs to recognize the most important activities that will have great influence in the accomplishment of the other activities.
A systems approach is an essential component of effective deployment of organizational resources into the good activities. A combination of efforts centered on team as well as the breakthroughs in task accomplishment is vital at every stage (Govindarajan & Trimble, 2005). Similarly, organizational leaders need to realize the crucial role played by the lead activities and devote resources for the achievement of such activities. Lead activities are therefore very important for the attainment of the organizational goals and objectives.
Establishing Good Metrics and Reward System
Once the lead activities have been clearly specified, it is imperative for the leaders to establish appropriate metrics through which such actions can be measured on a regular basis. The identification of the performance measures requires a leader to have the ability to distinguish between successful outcomes and lead measures which are analyzed on a regular basis say a week. The combination of the outcomes is important as the execution process requires a successful attainment of all the measures (Furtado, Aquino & Meira, 2012). In most cases business leaders and team members devote very limited time for lag measures which are historical in nature hence forgetting the most important measures for the successful execution. By so doing, the important tasks are allocated very limited time making it difficult to change the process in any way. Indeed, the most crucial role in the execution process is the identification of lead activities and determining the set of metrics to ascertain success at every level. It is also an important undertaking for leaders to track down the execution process carefully to ensure that right behaviors are adopted in the pursuit of right goals (Youden et al., 2010).
Effective monitoring of lead activities is highly effective in fostering appropriate behavior and engagement from team members. Indeed, the determination of right actions and behaviors by team members on a regular basis has a great impact on goal attainment hence fostering discipline and motivation on employees towards the strategic objectives of the organization (Govindarajan & Trimble, 2005). Good metrics are important in the sense that they clearly outline the required outcomes at every given stage of execution. At the same time, such metrics are effective in fostering discipline among the employees towards channeling all efforts on strategic objectives. Good metrics are also helpful as they enable the employees to continuously focus on the actions emphasized in the execution process.
Leaders with the ability to execute often speak simply and directly. They are very plain and forthright about their expectations from employees. Similarly, good leaders have clearly spelt out performance metrics and reward systems for the employees (Hauser & Katz, 1998). This makes it easy for the employees to remain focused on the expectations of the leader and the ultimate rewards for good performance. Rewarding the employees is an important component of execution in that it fosters good morale among the employees. Effective leaders have clearly spelt out rewards for good performance (Youden et al., 2010). Reward systems can only thrive in environments with clearly spelt out performance metrics. The execution process requires clarity of performance evaluation and reward systems. There is need for clearly spelt out reward system that recognizes achievers from non-achievers on the basis of the lead activities and the overall outcomes.
Creating an Easy to Understand Scoreboard
There is a widespread fear and anxiety among many employees in many organizations due to the intensification of economic downturn globally. It is the responsibility of the business leaders to minimize the fear and anxiety among employees by adopting measures that encourage team performance (Govindarajan & Timble, 2010). This is particularly possible through sustainable and clearly spelt out scoreboards. Such scoreboards should clearly depict progress of the execution process on a regular basis say weekly. Scoreboards are highly important in that they do not only supply execution update at a glance but also enable leaders to continually evaluate, inspire and motivate the members of a team.
The development of scoreboards should be based on collaboration among team members.   This is important in that team developed scoreboards are helpful in effective monitoring of the outcomes from each member fairly (Gupta, 2006). Effective scoreboards demonstrate a high level of transparency. Transparency is enhanced through realistic assessment of prevailing results enabling the employees to understand metrics of success and the manner in which the performance each individual employee’s performance is important. Furthermore, team members need to have a regular understanding of the execution. This enables them to know whether they are winning or losing each week, month, quarter, half-year, or annually. Scoreboard is an important motivation tool as it enables employees to continuously devote their efforts towards successful performance.
In many workplaces, awareness of whether the team is losing or winning throughout the execution process is highly lacking. Many organizations fail to regularly review the progress of strategy execution until the release of quarterly or semiannual performance measures. In most cases, such performance reviews only provide a general overview of the whole period under review (Youden et al., 2010). Therefore, frequent reviews and monitoring by the employees based on the scoreboards are important in preventing massive deviations from the expectations. On the other hand, compelling and easy to understand scoreboards are very helpful to the leader in maintaining a consistent messaging process to the team members and the whole organization in general. Regular communication from the business leaders is important in that it facilitates in the sustenance of focus on organizational strategic goals (Govindarajan & Trimble, 2005). Additionally, it helps in the maintenance of decision making based on facts especially during moments of tough choices. Similarly, a scoreboard is helpful in providing an opportunity for employees to obtain a clear understanding and accountability of individual execution and performance in real-time.
Developing a culture of accountability
All teams need to have a specific responsibility assigned by the leader. Each member of the team also should have a specific role at a personal level. This is particularly important in fostering a sense of accountability for the whole team. Such an undertaking is helpful in ensuring that the leader can attribute each member of the team to a given task. The leader is expected to foster accountability through collaboration and establishment of transparent, creative and positive environment to the team members. An atmosphere of accountability is important for a candid assessment of the various team huddles on a weekly basis. Establishment of regular and frequent meetings between the team members and the leader is important for an in-depth analysis of regular progression of the lead activities and actions. This is important in the accomplishment of the goals in a timely manner.
Weekly meetings are important as they provide an opportunity for the team and the leader to focus on the identification and measurement of vital activities, issuing reports and ensuring accountability for each person and the team (Youden et al., 2010). Brief reviews undertaken on a weekly manner are important as they provide an opportunity for each member to fully understand the required goals, appropriate behavior for attainment of the goals, the progress on the attainment of measures outlined in the scoreboard as well as the type of actions to be undertaken in the following weeks to obtain better outcomes.
Regular meetings are also important in helping the team members and the leader to have a deep scrutiny of the recent successes and challenges. It is also a platform for timely and specific corrections to be undertaken (Gupta, 2006). Meetings held on a monthly or quarterly basis are inadequate for effective assessment and adjustment of vital goals. Additionally, the engagement of team members is guaranteed with a regular schedule of meetings. Indeed, holding weekly meetings means that the team has 52 opportunities every year to review the process of execution of the organizational objectives. This is important for sustained commitment from each member.
From the foregoing, it is evident that business execution is a process that requires utmost commitment and high level of engagement of all stakeholders. Clearly, a leader alone cannot be able to fulfill the extensive demands of the execution process. Therefore, it is prudent to involve all the team members in the execution process. Involvement is to be accompanied by proper accountability from each member based on clearly spelt out metrics and scoreboard expectations. The execution process is to be based on the vital goals and the lead activities that transform into successful attainment of organizational goals. Indeed, a careful consideration of the rules of execution provides an opportunity for business organizations to achieve set objectives through efficient allocation of organizational resources.
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Charan, R., Bossidy, L. & Burck, C. (2012). Execution: The Discipline of Getting things done. Random House.
Furtado, F., Aquino, G. & Meira, S. (2012). Improving Organizational Performance through Reward Systems. Business Dynamics in the 21st Century.
Govindarajan, V. & Trimble, C. (2005). Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: from Idea to Execution. Harvard Business Press.
Govindarajan, V. & Timble, C. (2010). The other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge. Harvard Business Press.
Gupta, P. (2006). Six Sigma Business Scorecard. McGraw Hill Professional.
Hauser, J.R & Katz, G.M. (1998). Metrics: You are what you Measure! International Center for Research on the Management of Technology.
Youden, D., Romine, A., Hyatt, A., Simpson, M., McChesney, C. & Gill, G. (2010). Execution-Focused Leadership: Balancing Short-Term Survival with Long-term Sustainability. PriceWaterhouseCoopers and FranklinCovey.        

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