How good is your execution?
Work is all about execution - the ability to make things happen and bring them to completion. It is a skill that schools, business schools and short courses tend not to teach. The skill of getting things done is not an occult art: it can be learned, practiced and improved. The key is leadership and what are called “soft skills”. Here is how.
With the right behaviours you can bring about a revolution in execution and the way you get things done. How do you persuade your staff – or your colleagues – to follow you willingly? How do you motivate someone to make that extra effort? How do you ensure that time and money are not wasted? How do you retain staff? How do you survive a difficult or uncertain time?
The set of behaviours is simple. There are five:
Know what you are in charge of – in other words, base your decisions on expert knowledge. Expertise in your own subject – training, employment law, strategy – is vital so that your people know that you appreciate what you are talking about.
Know how to Delegate – if someone else in your department can do it, let them; look at your diary for the last six months and see how many meetings, initiatives, pitches and so on could have been done by someone else (I guarantee it will be around 80%); then identify those times when you were doing what you alone could do (20%). Raise that 20% by delegating.
Understand what you are asking someone to do – have a clear sense of the extent of the task you are setting out for them. This is an opportunity for you to show your empathy, appreciate the effort, and to be grateful; celebrate success, learn from failure (and develop a “no fault” policy to encourage people to improve without losing face).
Understand the personal impact you have on your people – you need to develop high levels of emotional intelligence (some people call this EQ) so that you can control your own emotions, use them to best effect, understand the effect they have on others, and be clear about how you influence people. Nobody follows a pessimist: so be cheerful, even if you don’t feel that way.
Grow an ethos – simply “the way we do things round here.” Those “soft skills” are absolutely vital: they produce behaviours that make the workplace better. Think of our own values. Does your organization have them? If so, does it get things done more quickly, and with less waste?
The Heartstyles Above-the-Line behaviors represent our best selves and they help us execute our roles more effectively; achieving, being reliable, encouraging our teams, and developing those around us, are exemplified in this blog. Fostering both achieving and reliable behaviors is essential for delivering on our goals. Encouraging and developing our teams brings the best out of them. We know from our field research that leaders who display these behaviors create a workplace with lower staff turnover and higher-performing teams.