Developing a Culture of Execution

The following is an excerpt of a blog post reprinted with permission from AchieveIt.

In recent weeks, we have been making our way through the four stages of cultural evolution that are often experienced by organizations that implement our best-of-breed Execution Management System:

•    Culture of collaboration
•    Culture of individual accountability
•    Culture of execution
•    Culture of innovation

In this blog, we focus on the move from an accountable culture to a culture of execution. Organizations that evolve from a culture of collaboration to an accountable culture are able to successfully focus on strategic work rather than just busy work. They move from doing a lot of things, to doing the right things that get measurable and tangible results. Characteristic elements of a culture of individual accountability include:

•    Organizational, departmental and individual scorecards.
•    Dashboards that track results over time.
•    Objectives that are measureable and quantifiable.
•    Strategies and tactics that support the objectives.
•    Objectives, strategies and tactics assigned to individual owners with firm due dates.
•    Progress review meetings at least monthly.

Evolving to a culture of execution

To move from a culture of individual accountability to a culture of execution requires that strategy gets pushed down to the front lines. Holding your management team accountable for results is important — which is the focus of accountability cultures — but getting everyone in the organization involved in strategy implementation elevates execution and creates a distinct business advantage. But pushing strategy to the front lines is no easy task. First and foremost, it requires that the organization's mission, vision and strategy are all intertwined and that the organization has taken the necessary steps to ensure that every employee knows how he or she helps fulfill the mission and achieve the vision through their daily jobs. This is a prerequisite to developing a culture of execution; if the primary focus of the organization's employees is to live the mission and vision through the work they perform, then the company is well on its way to developing a culture of execution — especially if mission and vision is the foundation of the organization's strategy.

With mission, vision and strategy aligned, it is then important to cascade strategic imperatives from the executive management team to middle management to front-line staff. If customer satisfaction is a strategic imperative, all employees should understand how they can impact and improve customer satisfaction on a daily basis. In a hospital, this means that everyone from physicians to housekeepers are provided tools and methods to improve patient satisfaction. In a bank, everyone from call center staff to tellers should be aware of how a single interaction with a customer can impact satisfaction scores. Customer service recovery programs should be hardwired and available to all employees. Customer service training should begin with employee orientation. And successes and failure should be shared across the organization.

Companies that effectively involve all employees in the implementation of strategy and the achievement of organizational objectives will develop within their employees a sense of purpose and meaning, urgency to get the right things done the right way and a greater level of satisfaction for their jobs. What's more, these same companies will develop within their organizations a culture of execution that enables them to accelerate business results.

More Articles on AchieveIt:

Developing a Culture of Accountability
Developing an Execution Management System: Cultural Evolution, Stage 1

Is the Mission the Brand? Or is the Brand the Mission?

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