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Execution Excellence And Energy

Managers are on a treadmill – a daily grind towards execution excellence, towards congruence – with the rising expectations of all Stakeholders. Driven by competition, internal and external, we get up earlier and work later; desperately seek skills and competencies; design systems and structures; invest in technology; cast our nets into risky foreign markets; build hierarchies and then try to flatten them; create, monitor and avoid controls; set budgets and targets with shorter and shorter review dates; clutter the day with meetings about what happened yesterday, constantly try to find blame for the past and predict the future; cut costs; cut payrolls and cut corners.

Managers are on a treadmill and it moves faster and faster. They are lonely, live a divided life, often travel excessively and demand more compensation – bonuses, huge salaries and stock options – for the sacrifices they are making. Danger money?

Yet the awful truth is that the organisations they are managing are standing still or even going backwards. Execution never becomes excellent – it remains mediocre. There seem to be very few exceptions.

More team builds, strategic planning sessions, more carrot and more stick. More effort and most often no sustainable benefit. More command, more control and less response. Fewer available skills …. more and more training that just does not seem to last. More good people leave … only the “disengaged” stay behind.

Ernst & Young published bleak research findings amongst which is the observation that 66% of strategic decisions taken don’t get implemented. A study in the United States amongst senior and top management showed that 69% didn’t know what their company’s vision, mission or objectives were ….. and didn’t care! Franklin Covey has a process for measuring execution excellence and in most organisations they find it to be worryingly low. Levels of stress, burnout, and divorce, however, keep climbing. A recent finding published in the United States suggested that almost a third of the population was clinically depressed.

Studies suggest that more and more people within organisations are “disengaged”. Their feet are under desks but they are not “present”.

Why? Why? Why? Because we have lost our balance – personal and organisational. Because we have forgotten that getting things done and finding the energy to do them are both essential. We have to balance them.

We have forgotten that willing human energy gets things done far quicker, far better and far cheaper than power and punishment. But you can’t buy it – leaders earn it. It’s not that competence, structure, systems, budgets, bonuses, authority and order are wrong. Far from it, they are essential and they all require management – lots of it.

But without willing human energy they are futile. Nobody disputes the simple observation that high energy individuals and high energy teams significantly outperform those with low, even worse, negative energy.

A modern racing yacht, like an efficient corporation, has invested in the essentials – design, competence, structure, process and a captain with authority too. But without wind it doesn’t move and any auxiliary motors it may have are not enough to feel its true potential.

We measure current levels of energy – of the individual, in relationships, teams and in the Organisation as a whole, using our reliable eQ Energy Survey …. an invaluable starting marker.

Then even more exciting is the energy journey when you begin to see the prospect of a high energy team of high energy individuals on a sustainable basis. To a yachtsman it is a steady 50-knot wind from the right quarter; to a glider pilot it is a powerful thermal. To a human organisation it feels like magic.

Spiralling up energy is what excites us most …. and is what we do best.

Written by Colin Hall

For more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation, contact Adriaan on adriaan@leadershipplatform.com

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Leadership Platform is a specialist leadership development consultancy, focusing on creating measurable impact to the bottom line through the enhancement of leadership understanding and engagement.

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