Saturday, July 22, 2006

execution - 2

the break was on account of my taking the GMAT and then getting back to office. An unusual erratic net connection contributed to my absence. Coming to the book that i left last, here are the next three chapters.

The discipline of getting things done
(chapters 4 to 6)

Chapter 4 to 6
The authors talk about creation of the framework for cultural change in an organization. As per them, the cultural change gets real when the aim is execution and that no complex theory or surveys are required. What is required is to change the people’s behavior by telling them what results are sought, then discussing with them how to get those results. This is followed by rewarding people for producing the desired results. The foundation of changing behavior is linking rewards to performance and making linkages transparent. An employee doesn’t get rewarded if he has not improved along with the organization and peers even though he/she may be good at the job.
The authors introduce the social software of execution. The social software includes values, beliefs, and norms of behavior.
All the above is not possible without a robust dialogue. A robust dialogue involves letting people speak without constraint and hesitation. When people speak candidly, they express their real opinions, not those that will please the power players or maintain harmony. The authors quote Jack Welch, “Informality is critical to candor”.
Finally, the leaders get the behavior they exhibit and tolerate. Culture of a company is the behavior of the leader.
To build an execution organization, the leader has to be present to create and reinforce the social software with the desired behaviors and the robust dialogue.
The concept if supported by both the authors by way of examples from companies in real life.
We don’t think ourselves into a new way of acting; we act ourselves into a new way of thinking.

Next, the authors give the prominence to something that a leader should never delegate: having the right people in the right place. As per them choosing the right people is what creates that elusive sustainable competitive advantage. Reasons that most of the time, right people are not in the right job are lack of knowledge, lack of courage, psychological comfort factor and lack of personal commitment. The people a leader should look for are ones who energize others, are decisive on tough issues, get things done through others, follow through but the leader should him/herself be equipped with such qualities.

Starting the next part of the book (part III) with chapter 6, the authors then talk about people process which makes the link with strategy and operations. A robust people process does three things:
a. evaluates individuals accurately and in depth;
b. provides a framework for identifying and developing leadership talent the organization will need to execute its strategies down the road;
c. It fills the leadership pipeline that’s the basis of a strong succession plan.

The people process is based on the following building blocks:
a. linkage to strategic plan and its near and medium and long term milestones and operating targets;
b. developing the leadership pipeline through continuous improvement, succession depth and reducing retention risk;
c. deciding what to do about non-performance;
d. transforming the mission and operations of HR.