My new clients love to tell me their organization is different. They feel it is necessary to get me educated up front on their industry. What I tend to focus on is the one thing that makes all organizations very similar, they are all made up of people. Typically, this is the one place where many organizations have their struggles. They are very good at business intelligence, market intelligence, competitive and peer data. They spend time planning how to become the biggest and the best. Eventually, with all this information and planning, where the rubber meets the road is in the execution.
Execution is the skill of influence and getting things done, through ourselves and other people. These days, change in the business environment comes faster than we have ever seen before and it’s very likely it will only continue to accelerate. Only those who have the ability to stay ahead of it with planning and corresponding execution will be the eventual winners.
Here are a few of the areas leaders should consider once you have an idea or initiative you need to get people moving on:
Why are they resisting?
People typically have, what they feel to be, valid reasons for why they are not executing. Whether the reasons are actually valid or not is up for debate. What you need to know are the actually reasons and why they feel that way. Is it the idea or is it you? Sometimes people may not have as much trouble with the idea itself, perhaps it is you where they have the problem. It might be because it wasn’t their idea. Maybe they don’t like the area of the organization the idea came from. The point is, until you can identify the source of resistance, it will be very difficult to get totally buy-in and execution from the person who has action to take on this idea or initiative.
Why are they supportive?
Usually people see things at least a little your way. You need to discover the reasons why they support your plan of action. One key question to ask yourself is “how many supporters do I need for this idea or initiative to take place?” Many times, leaders are comfortable with one-third of key people being on board with an idea to get the ball rolling. Almost everyone in any organization can say no and do nothing to advance an idea for a little while. They can hide in the weeds and hunker down or at least, look busy. This is a major issue for you to get things rolling, so you have to focus a lot of energy on the supporters, because they can help you influence some of the resisters and help you win them over to the execution side.
How are you going to communicate with them?
You can not get anything done in an organization without good communication. You must carefully craft the messages you want to send to your followers. Is your message one of action? Is it of profitability? Is it about safety? When you are at the top of the organization, everything is going to flow from you, then your direct reports must have corresponding messages that dovetail perfectly with the main message you are communicating. This sends a message of unity and teamwork you want to keep replicating up, down and across the organization. You need to all think about the method of message delivery. Today, we can mix our delivery methods among town meetings, e-mail, blogs, texts, webinars and videos. Each method will challenge your communication skills on the message, so be sure to craft the message accordingly.
How are you going to strengthen the relationship?
Great communication is going to help through the various methods we mentioned, but nothing is going to strengthen a relationship like time spent together. We know time is a precious commodity, so we must invest it wisely. Winning people over to execution is a methodical process fueled a little by logic and lot by emotion. Only by spending time face to face with individuals can you properly evaluate if they are on board. Only by spending time with them can you ascertain if they are communicating in the same way and having the same conversations you are hoping are permeating the organization. People enjoy knowing you are paying attention and understand their unique issues as compared to the idea and plan. Your empathy and social skills can ignite more execution than your planning and organizing skills can.