Saturday, 13 June 2015

Two Points on Good Execution

“Be it a vision, a mission, a strategy or a plan, in the end, it is the execution that makes it happen”

Companies put every possible bit in place to make execution succeed. It is widely believed that one of the key attributes for achieving sustainable competitive advantage is excellence in execution capability.

However, it is observed that different departments of an organization have different perceptions, ways and methodologies for making the execution successful for instance – Quality Consultants insist on strict adherence with standard processes for ensuring a perfect execution or (say) Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) suggest mastering the domain specific dynamics can make execution successful.

But, howsoever good the strategy be and howsoever good the synchronized efforts of all the departments function to create a flawless support mechanism to facilitate smooth execution, eventually, the onus to perform for intended results comes to the Core Execution Team.

A team comprises of individuals committed towards achieving a common goal.  Therefore, it is important for every member of a team to streamline individual efforts keeping in view the shared interest of the team.

Contribution made by a cohesive and coherent team is much more than sum of individual contributions put-up by its team-members. This is so, because shared values, mutual trust and collective recognition drives each team member to apply herself / himself to a greater extent for achieving common goals.

What makes a team of professionals stand out? What should a team leader do to elevate the performance of its team to highest possible levels? These are among the common questions, which usually keep on getting repeated during informal discussions among professionals belonging to any field, any level and any region.

Here is my take on the topic, the two things that I consider most important in making the team perform to the best of its potential are:-

1.     Clarity – Clarity in the minds of team-members on questions like:
a.     What exactly a team member needs to do?
b.     What other team members are supposed to do?
c.      What exactly is the goal?
d.     What is the evaluation criteria for the team and for individuals?

2.     Consensus - Consensus among the team members on issues like:
a.     How can the goals be achieved?
b.    What makes just and fair approach for the individual interest and for the interest of the team?
c.     Reward mechanism
d.    The vision, the mission and future prospects of the team


Clarity & Consensus in Two Dimensional View

The adjoining figure presents, extent of clarity and extent of consensus in a two dimensional view. This figure is drawn to explain my personal observations on characteristics of teams with respect to these two aspects (Clarity and Consensus). Based on the figure, my general observations are listed in following four points:-      


A.    Team with High degree of clarity and Low degree of Consensus (marked as A in figure)

a.     Reasonable Team Performance
b.     Politically Charged Work Environment
c.      Low Degree of Sustainability (Poor Outlook for Long Term Prospects)
d.     High Attrition Rate
e.     Limited Access to Information to Team Members  
f.      Limited Application of Professional Skills by Team Members

B.     Team with High degree of clarity and High degree of Consensus (marked as B in figure)

a.     Excellent Team Performance
b.     Profession Focused Work Environment
c.      High Degree of Sustainability (Good Outlook for Long Term Prospects)
d.     Low Attrition Rate
e.     Easy Access to Information to Team Members
f.      Excellent Application of Professional Skills by Team Members

C.     Team with Low degree of Clarity and Low degree of Consensus (marked as C in figure)

a.     Poor Team Performance
b.     Hostile Work Environment
c.      Low Degree of Sustainability (Poor Outlook for Long Term Prospects)
d.     Very High Attrition Rate
e.     Poor Access to Information to Team Members
f.      Poor Application of Professional Skills by Team Members

D.    Team with Low degree of Clarity and High degree of Consensus (marked as D in figure)

a.     Poor Team Performance
b.     Hierarchy and Team Spirit Driven Work Environment
c.      Low Degree of Sustainability (Poor Outlook for Long Term Prospects)
d.     Average Attrition Rate
e.     Limited Access to Information to Team Members
f.      Poor Application of Professional Skills by Team Members

In the end, one must NOT forget that the only way clarity and consensus can be increased within a team is through COMMUNICATION. Establishing a formal way of communication within a team and promotion of informal way of communication accommodating diverse views should be one of the very first thing a team leader should ensure.

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