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Monday, December 18, 2006

10 Principles for Sustainable Execution

From the Human Service Connections newsletter comes these "10 Principles for Sustainable Execution."

Grow Your Own Discomfort. All organizations experience a progression of conception, birth, growth, and decline. And then they do it all over again. Disrespect for this natural process leads to corporate and individual poverty. Comfort should be discomforting.

Don’t Make Me Yawn. You, your leadership team and company must consciously work to design and redesign your identity over time, or the marketplace will fall asleep while you’re on the TV. If you have no identity or brand you will struggle to succeed in your market, irrespective of your good intentions.

Lurve The Future. Understanding the past and appreciating the present are important, but lurve (Woody Allen’s combination of “love” and “lust” in the movie Annie Hall) of the future helps you to deal with the inevitable issues associated with moving the implementation ball forward. Implementation is the opportunity to increase the velocity of success, not the barrier to it.

Shoot For The Stars (Or Shoot Yourself In the Foot)! The mood of you and your team is critical to sustainable completion of projects, whatever the level. With alignment of intentions and ambition there are no limits, just possibilities for even more possibilities. Without aligned intentions or ambition you are likely in search of medication for your resentment and resignation. Mood management is as important as fiscal management.

Stop It Or Else! Unconscious confidence in old habits of business behavior creates performance quicksand. To break out of this trap you have to STOP your behavior first, then CHANGE your behavior, consistent with your intention. Only then can you can START implementing a new strategic plane or project. New Year’s resolutions do not resolve the fear of taking the next step and improving performance. They often make your situation worse.

It’s Not About You (Entirely). Successful business execution requires awareness of your personal style and consistent skill in understanding and speaking to the strengths and concerns of others. How can our individual strengths benefit our company, our team and ourselves? When do I “hand off” to someone else? Egoless yet performance- oriented behavior helps you and your teams to succeed.

Welcome Your Breakdowns. Breakdowns are inevitable, the price of experience for any team moving forward. They represent are the opportunity to reinvigorate your vision, that of your team and design constant recalibration on your organizational adventure. If your survival software continually pushes you to implement action that results in the same, recurring breakdown, then you will continue to suffer. And the market or funding source will not pay much for this self-destructive performance.

You Don’t Get There By Reading the Road Map. Implementation of decisions comes from your will and that of your teammates, not the 119 page strategic plan. The most effective teams progress with a rough topographic guide and a focus on their overriding direction. They are likely a disagreeable band of warriors with their armor in front, strong individual intentions, and a commitment to act interdependently.

Face The Market Or Face The Consequences. Too often organizations engage in exercises and training that focus on self concerns vs. those of the market place. Guess what? A magazine writer may feature you as a “progressive” company, but if you are not able to effectively respond to a market concern you have lost your way. How much is the fame and the glory worth? What bill will you pay with it? Your action must be coordinated with everyone facing the market together to execute, consistent with your vision.

V²=REV² + RISK/2. Following in the path of Einstein, it is evident that as you speed up your transactional skills (V2) you increase the probability of increasing revenue (REV2) and reducing risk (RISK/2). The old common logic of slowing down to reduce risk does not work – it increases the risk of bringing execution to a standstill and actually moving backward. The riskiest place is to stay where you are.

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