(Execution Revolution: available on Amazon in late April!)
Monday, March 31, 2008
(Execution Revolution: available on Amazon in late April!)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Stephen Bernhut, the editor of Ivey Business Journal Online, interviewed Ram Charan in Toronto, where he recently spoke at the annual meeting of the Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario.
Some key excerpts from the interview (ED NOTE: italics are mine):
IBJ: It’s now more than five years since you wrote what is considered to be “the” book on execution. Is it still as important as it was when you wrote the book?
RC: Execution is the great unaddressed issue in business today. Too many leaders today still place too great an emphasis on high-level strategy, on intellectualizing and philosophizing, and not enough on implementation. The fact is that the real difference between a company and its competitor is the ability to execute.
IBJ: In your book on execution, you say that many people equate execution with tactics. You also say that’s wrong. Why?
RC: Execution is a discipline and a system, it’s not only tactics. It must be built in to a company’s culture, strategy and goals. It’s a leader’s most important job. But many leaders today don’t do that. They spend time learning and deploying the latest management techniques. Execution is a discipline of its own, and today it is the critical discipline for business success.
Read the entire interview at Ivey Business Journal here.
- Nearly eight out of 10 employers that offered coaching to all their employees used it for "general personal development", with three quarters saying they used it for "helping poor performance".
- More than half of the organizations polled believed that coaching by line managers was the most effective learning and development practice, with nearly half anticipating that even greater responsibility would fall on to line managers in the next five years.
Most significant change?
- More than two fifths of organizations now offered coaching to all employees, with some four out of 10 offering it only to directors and senior management and a third offering it to senior managers and line managers or supervisors.
According to Dr John McGurk, the primary researcher: "Coaching is not just a popular technique but an immensely powerful one for supporting personal development. There is no doubt that coaching is having a significant impact both on individual and organizational performance. As coaching helps people to develop, it's a perfect fit for the fast moving knowledge economy in which we operate," he added.
BOTTOMLINE: "Organizations face significant challenges in drawing up frameworks that ensure value for money and that are aligned with their organization's strategic objectives," says McGurk.
One of the key components of the Six Disciplines strategy execution program is accountability coaching, which is used to improve both individual and organizational performance.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Today's Wall Street Journal, however, included an article "Overseeing More Employees With Fewer Managers" (subscription required) in which it showcases the trend of companies to reconsider the maximum team size.
Most notable, "researchers in Europe suggest that a manager can oversee 30 or more employees, in part, by using technology to communicate and help monitor work."
BOTTOMLINE: By giving frontline workers more responsibility, you need fewer bosses. The research above suggests that technology can help address the challenge.
The Six Disciplines strategy execution program includes a technology component, which we refer to as an execution system. This breakthrough system is optimized to:
- Automate a repeatable business-building methodology
- Address time management
- Enable real-time activity alignment
- Support weekly progress reviews
- Encourage total organizational engagement
- Measure and monitor strategy execution progress for each individual and team
The Six Disciplines execution system directly supports the ability to have fewer managers by "using technology to communicate and help monitor work."
FINDLAY, Ohio, March 24, 2008 —Six Disciplines, the first complete strategy and execution program for small and midsize businesses, announced today that it has become a corporate sponsor of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). The Six Disciplines program is designed to help small and midsize businesses improve their ability to balance strategy and execution and to accelerate and sustain business excellence.
With the agreement, Six Disciplines plans to become a primary resource for local chambers interested in offering their respective memberships access to tangible and accountable methods to create a strategy and continually execute on it through all levels of an organization. Rooted in research and testing, Six Disciplines executives have a deep background as small-business owners and partners to thousands of rapidly-expanding businesses, a process that has produced a wealth of data about what keeps businesses from achieving business excellence.
“The ACCE and its members are the premier national organization focused on strengthening business in America,” said Gary Harpst, founder and CEO of Six Disciplines. “In this era of global competitiveness, it’s vital for the U.S. to accelerate the development of new and better ways of doing business. This is especially true in small and midsized organizations, which are the lifeblood of our economy. Six Disciplines is proud to be a corporate sponsor of ACCE because our goal of revolutionizing business performance aligns with the mission of chambers perfectly.”
“ACCE is delighted to welcome Six Disciplines not only as a corporate sponsor, but also as the lead sponsor of our annual convention taking place this summer in Pittsburgh,” said Mick Fleming, ACCE president. “We look forward to introducing our chamber members to this award-winning company and their business excellence program.”
Six Disciplines also is the titanium sponsor of the ACCE National Convention. The agreement provides for exposure of Six Disciplines through advertisements in the ACCE’s industry magazine, Chamber Executive, as well as via the organization’s Web site and e-newsletters.
The annual ACCE Convention, to be held in Pittsburgh July 30-Aug. 2, will host more than 1,000 Chamber CEOs, CFOs and management staff to keep pace with the latest issues affecting businesses and their communities. Harpst will speak at the ACCE Convention, with a presentation titled “Solving The One Chamber Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier.”
About American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)
Established in 1914, ACCE serves the professional development needs of chamber executives throughout the United States and Canada. Representing more than 7,000 individuals, ACCE enhances the knowledge, leadership skills, and management effectiveness of chamber executives and their staff through education, benefits programs, trend analysis, benchmarking, and network development. ACCE supports and develops chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. Visit http://www.acce.org/.
About Six Disciplines
Six Disciplines, founded in 2000, has developed the first complete strategy execution program, specifically for small- and midsized businesses. The Six Disciplines program integrates a repeatable methodology to drive organizational learning, ongoing external coaching to ensure accountability, an execution software system to align daily activities of every stakeholder, and community learning to accelerate and sustain business excellence. The program is offered exclusively through a growing national network of locally-owned Six Disciplines Centers. Businesses that have implemented the Six Disciplines program include those from the Inc. 500, ISO-9000 certified companies, and a 2007 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award recipient. Visit http://www.sixdisciplines.com/.
An excerpt of the article:
Clearly, it takes more than an annual meeting to lead a company toward its goals. A 2007 survey by the American Management Association found only 3% of executives said their companies are successful at executing strategy. Over 60% admitted only moderate success - or worse - at strategy execution.
For small and mid-sized organizations, executing strategy is hindered by three primary challenges:
1. Economics. While larger businesses can invest significantly in resources like consultants, coaching, systems and software, small and mid-sized businesses cannot afford these investments.
2. Expertise. Larger enterprises have experts in disciplines like strategic planning, performance management, business intelligence, and balanced scorecards. Small and mid-sized businesses don't have access to this wide array of expertise.
3. Human Factors. All businesses have the same fundamental challenge: they're run by people. We know the right things to do, but we don't always do them. Organizational behavior, attitudes, motivation, habits and resistance to change are just some of the factors that contribute to poor execution.
Read the entire article here.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Strategy requires choosing what promises to make to all stakeholders and a roadmap for delivering on those promises.
Execution requires getting there, while overcoming unending surprises.
Of the two, execution is far more difficult to achieve, but is fruitless without solid strategy.
Learning how to balance these two is the key to excellence, and excellence is a journey that never ends. It’s an enduring pursuit that requires an enduring approach.
Somehow on this journey we often lose sight of what the real problem is. And surprisingly, it’s not what most business leaders think it is.
Most describe their biggest challenge as the issue(s) they’re facing right now (growth, control, communication, productivity, generational transition, hiring, competitors, and many others.)
Whatever issues an organization faces today, they will be different and bigger tomorrow.
Planning and executing, while at the same time, managing the unknowns of the real world, is the biggest challenge in business. Overcoming this challenge is what we mean by solving the problem that will make solving all other problems easier.
It builds an organization that is preparing for an ever increasing set of future challenges that are the natural result of overcoming today’s challenges.
Given the pace and unpredictability of the business world, we leaders often feel there’s not much that we do control. This book, however, describes the first complete program for a business to take control of the one thing it can, so that it is better equipped to deal with all the things it can’t. It’s my hope that the real-world experience of our team, the investment that’s been made, and the completeness of the program will help you realize this isn’t just another book. It’s the beginning of a revolution – an Execution Revolution.
(Excerpted from EXECUTION REVOLUTION: Solving The One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier, by Gary Harpst)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
According to recent survey of more than 1,000 organizations:
- 80 percent of the organizations that regularly use the balanced scorecard (BSC) reported improvements in operating performance.
- 66 percent of them also reported an increase in profits.
- 61 percent, a significant majority, reported improvements in bottom-line financial results.
“Employing the balanced scorecard leads to new business processes that can be used to link long-term strategies to short-term decisions,” concluded Dr. David Norton, the founder and president of Renaissance Solutions, a global consulting organization. “But in order to implement the balanced scorecard successfully, a business unit must effectively communicate the organization’s strategies for increasing shareholder value to all employees. That helps to get everyone behind the overall strategy.”
Monday, March 17, 2008
The three powerful conclusions from Gallup’s research on conversation, engagement, and strengths:
- If your manager primarily ignores you, your chances of being actively disengaged are 40%
- If your manager focuses on your weaknesses, your chances of being actively disengaged are 22%
- If you manager focuses on your strengths your chances of being actively disengaged are only 1%
(Thanks to David Zinger, and his great passion and work over at The Employee Engagement Network!)
Here is Gary Harpst, being interviewed on Tech Talk: What's Biggest Problem Facing Execs Today? on WRAL Local TechWire.com in Raleigh, NC.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Ivey Business Journal has published an article entitled "Making Strategy Work: Overcoming The Obstacles To Effective Execution" featuring Lawrence Hrebiniak, professor in the Strategy Group, Department of Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Hrebiniak's latest work on execution is a book by the same name (Making Strategy Work Wharton School Publishing, 2005.)
Eric Kurjan, president of Six Disciplines Northwest Ohio, is shown coaching clients and is featured in the Toledo Blade article "Findlay firm offers ways to improve businesses" written by business reporter Ted Fackler.
In the article, Kurjan and Six Disciplines founder and CEO Gary Harpst talk about what makes Six Disciplines different:
- The Six Disciplines program advocates action for company strategy, planning, organizing people and processes, execution management, innovation, and organizational learning. It's based on years of field testing and a $20 million investment.
- "The biggest difference between us and other [management services] is that we're execution focused," explained Mr. Harpst. "It's easy to produce a plan. It's not easy to implement it."
- The typical Six Disciplines fee is less than that of a client's single employee pay, and is available long term.
- Within 10 years, Mr. Harpst said, his company will have annual revenues of $250 million to $350 million, employ nearly 700 workers, and be in 70 cities.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Hay Group also conducts supplemental research each year to identify business practices that distinguish companies on the lists from all others. This year’s analysis focused on how these companies manage their employee reward programs, and found that they do a much better job of leveraging their reward investments than their peers.
Some of the research findings include:
- 79% regularly provide employees with total reward statements, versus 53% of peer group respondents
- 82% regularly reinforce the company’s reward philosophy in communications with employees, while only 64% of peer companies do the same
- 74% state that their employees understand and appreciate that rewards consist of both tangible and intangible components, compared with 61% of their peers
- 41% say that line managers in their organization create a positive work climate, whereas only 21% of peer companies respond similarly
- 28% state that line managers utilize financial and non-financial recognition programs, compared with 16% of peer companies
- 41% believe that their reward program is internally fair, while only 27% of their peers believe the same
- 48% report that their reward programs support efforts to retain their best talent, versus 28% of their peers
- 45% say that their reward program allows them to attract the talent they need, compared with 25% of their peers