You are here:  Home  >  Leadership  >  Current Article

The Cost of Lack of Disciplined Execution

By   /  20/04/2016  /  No Comments

    Print       Email

The Cost of Disciplined ExecutionOne of the key leadership challenges at senior management level is lack of disciplined execution. This stems from leader’s inability to take action on agreed plans.

Whether you are leading a large organization or one employee, your ability to take consistent action on what you know or say is critical to reaching your vision.

Many leaders do not do what they say, not because they do not understand what to do. From a personal experience, the leaders I coach are smart and understood “What” their organizations require of them. Sometimes, lack of clarity on mission, vision, and values is not the fundamental cause of lack of disciplined execution. Quite often it is “How” to turn the vision into action that is the issue. The breakdown of disciplined execution does not occur as a result of a shortage of creativity and innovation, but the inability of taking consistent focused action.

The challenge of lack of disciplined execution is not due to lack of vision, mission or values, but of “HOW” to turn them into action. [Tweet This]

The breakdown in disciplined execution is not due to a shortage of creativity and innovation but of taking consistent focused action. [Tweet This]

My observation is that many business owners and leaders pay less attention to the key drivers of performance in their businesses. They invest more on groundbreaking strategies, many of which do not add up to create the results they want.

My mentor John Spence, a “Top 500 world Leadership Expert” has is privileged to teach “Strategic Thinking” at Wharton University for the past 13 years. John’s class seats between 100-200 senior executives from different industries across the world. John points out that investing in the best strategy is useless if leaders cannot execute it effectively! In other words, it is not the absence of the strategy that makes a company fail, it is a lack of the capacity to execute it.

Why Disciplined Execution Matters?

Successful leaders all over the world are doers! [Tweet This]

A study shows that the most successful organizations in the world execute only 10%-20% of their strategies. That means that more than 80% of productivity are lost to lack of execution.

Let me explain this a bit more. Many company executives invest a significant amount of time and money on management retreats annually. They develop comprehensive strategic plans and define new objectives for their business. These companies also clarify vision and reinforce their core values with the workforce. Post-retreat, they translate vision into goals, formulate slogans about new directions, and assign responsibilities to departments. For many organizations, that’s the farthest they can go with strategy implementation.

What if senior management of those companies go a bit further to create disciplined execution culture and hold everyone accountable to achieve the goal? What if they create seamless performance measurement frameworks that catch and reward people doing the right thing? If companies embrace accountability culture and execute at least 50% of their strategies and goals, their profits can grow easily. They could consolidate their market position in no distant time also.

Implementing Disciplined Execution

The starting point for implementing disciplined execution is to coach leaders to consciously bridge the “Knowing-Doing Gap.” [Tweet This]

Many leaders know exactly “WHAT” to do, they just don’t know “HOW” to get it done effectively. [Tweet This]

It is okay to train for skill, but the return on investment is priceless for organizations that empower their leaders to do what they say and engage their subordinates to do the same. Executive Coaching was designed on this premise, to support business leaders and entrepreneurs to think differently and maximize results. The framework also enforces disciplined execution around the following 4 cornerstones:

1. Clarity

Be clear about the actions you want to execute, and execute them relentlessly across key business frontiers – divisions and departments. Also, communicate openly and let your team know what you want them to do, why they should do them, and the impact of their collective actions. Leaders who fail to communicate their plans regularly can not hold their staff accountable for a breakdown in execution.

2. Alignment

High-performance leaders set teams up for success. They take a personal interest in ensuring that their actions are consistent with their goals. They formulate policies that eliminate unhealthy rivalry and inspire everyone to put their best performance toward the goal. The more aligned the team is in their various departments, the more they can purposefully execute and achieve measurable goals.

3. Consensus

The best business plans can fail if leaders do not secure buy-in from their followers to implement the plans. Another aspect of reaching a consensus involves ensuring the involvement of key members of the team in shaping the plan. It also means providing everything the team needs to execute and achieve the goal. It is not always right to think of consensus as having 100% agreement with everyone in an organization. A simple majority of key people believing in the leader’s ideology can suffice as well.

4. Execution

Execution puts all the pieces of the puzzle together to create the expected result. It is tat part of planning where successful leaders roll-up their sleeves and gets their hands ethically dirty. Execution is most impactful if built around coaching, where managers to turn vision into goal, goal into, and strategy into results. There isn’t much hope for organizations that do not execute consistently.

    Print       Email

About the author

Since 2010, Nkem Mpamah has been assisting entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to improve performance, create sustainable competitiveness, and maximize profit. Nkem is the founder and Chief Executive of Cognition Global Concepts (CGC).

You might also like...

employee engagement, customer engagement

Employee engagement versus customer engagement, which comes first?

Read More →