Today morning, as I had my cup of coffee, I was pondering on the opportunities and challenges of this changing world of technological advancements, increasing urbanization and evolving demographics across the globe; and the consequent emerging scenario of start-ups, businesses of one and mergers/de-mergers. This made me wonder about the future of work and about what would one need for sustained relevance and comparative value in this new world. In my perspective, an incessant strive for excellence will become the key differentiating factor. Through my 30 years of corporate experience with some of the best global organizations, I learnt that “Excellence is Not a Destination but a Journey”, and that there is a systematic relationship between Purpose (why we do), Objectives (what we measure), and Processes (how we do).
This experience enables me to say that a critical ingredient for gaining excellence is the discipline to focus on the right things, the right ways, untiring practice, and a continual strive for being better than the best of yesterday. Moreover, a culture of disciplined execution and innovation is a prerequisite for operational excellence.
An idea or strategy is useful only if adapted well and executed effectively. It is widely believed that most organizations execute only about 20% of their strategy, of which typically 20% are successful and that a minuscule percentage of ideas get translated in to an innovation and yet less than 5% of those innovations become tangibly successful. Given the lost revenues, profits, market share and the associated opportunity costs these estimates would imply it should cause a major wake-up call. Envisage how rewarding it will be to instill a strong culture of disciplined execution and innovation across an entire organization.
Here, I want to share some steps for successfully operationalizing a strategic intent through adaption for relevance and execution effectiveness, i.e. operational excellence:
- Determine organizational purpose and values and thus establish a vision that inspires.
- Define strategic intents for execution in line with organizational purpose, values, and vision.
- Leaders to demonstrate personal commitment by being living examples of organizational purpose and values.
- Identify strategic priorities for operational/execution focus.
- Engage with teams for communication, feedback and thus refinement and adaption.
- Operationalize strategic intents through discernable measures or indicators to monitor progress.
- Create systems and processes to ensure sustained success and for knowledge sharing.
- Once a focused strategy and identified key priorities have been established, over-communicate the goals and priorities to ensure that the people are aligned and focused on the right things.
- Develop people through training and support; inspire them through purpose and objectives; provide resources and empower them through delegation and accountability.
- Prepare for change and ambiguities. Anticipate, adjust and innovate proactively as per the marketplace and customer requirements.
- Acknowledge – Admire – Appreciate the people. At the same time, deal quickly and decisively with people who are unwilling or unable to execute as per their roles or are not positively inspired by organizational values and purpose.
If any initiative in an organization has derailed or any strategy has not been implemented effectively, then most likely one or more of the above steps of operational excellence would not have been accomplished well. Most people know what is required to make their organization more successful… but it is few that have the discipline to persist consistently with positive actions and diligence required to transform great ideas in to reality.
I hope you found this post interesting and of value. Please take a moment to like, comment and share it with anyone you feel this will be of interest to…