What are some of the keys to elevating performance in your organization in an extra-ordinary manner? In a recent post, we looked at the opportunity to use the budget conversations to truly create new value for ourselves and for our business, and ultimately – our clients.
Once your strategic frame is crafted and your budget outcomes aligned on to support the strategic direction, comes the time to plan for execution and generate personal objectives and commitments. As many of us have witnessed in our corporate careers, there are a number of pitfalls when it comes to execution. We regularly struggle to impact in a truly powerful way, the areas of our business where effective execution is missing.
If coordinated action and our ability to say what we will do and do what we say are critical to the success of executing on our plans, why is it that what we know about the power of making and honoring commitments gets displaced when we move from theory to action?
We can look at this issue first from an operational perspective and identify some of the common pitfalls:
- Insufficient individual accountability for the promises we make and those made to us
- Accepting from others, responses that hold no indication of authentic commitment – such as “I’ll try”, “I’ll do my best”, “sure”
- Mistaking a culture of effort for a culture of performance – “of course we’re committed people, look at how hard the teams work”
- Inadequate structures to keep commitments in existence, not only with an aligned upon result and a by when, but also with the necessary time allocated in our schedules
- A reluctance to decline or counter-offer, or even initiate the conversations that could lead to a decline and counter-offer. Once I am absolutely clear about the result you are requesting of me and have confronted what it will take to deliver, I can then make a committed response
- An attachment to the persistent complaint that takes some form of “I’m too busy”. Often blind to us, this attachment may have the strongest hold on us and impacts our ability to “crack” any of the issues above. The persistent complaint lets us off the hook from delivering what we promised and what is expected of us, with a built-in justification or excuse.
What if restoring our power and creativity in the face of all we have to do and handle started by being willing to let go of the conversation “I’m too busy” and replacing it with a conversation that could start with: “this is what you can count on me for and this is what you cannot count on me for”?
Are you able to engage in these conversations in your organization? What are some of the practices in place – individually or collectively – that support an environment for coordinated action, managing by commitment and effective execution?