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What is the Execution Clock?

90% of well formulated strategies fail due to poor execution!

This is according to Gary Harpst in his widely read guide to effective execution titled, Six Disciplines Execution Revolution. Strategy itself is often not the cause although some strategies are overly complex and could be simplified through use of a one-page strategic plan. More on this in a future post. Assuming the strategy is simple and clear, what gets in the way of execution? Well, often everything! Too many initiatives, unclear goals, mis-aligned metrics, shifting priorities, and unfocused leadership to mention a few.

Think of a clock. It moves in circular direction from 12 through 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and ending back to 12. Each circular cycle symbolizes the business cycle.

If we were to focus on the four key drivers of accountability, our execution clock might look something like this. Every business starts with marketing which leads to sales which becomes a delivery of something and leads to a profit.

12pm: Marketing (who is accountable and metrics)

3pm: Sales (who is accountable and metrics)

6pm: Delivery (who is accountable and metrics)

9pm: Profit (who is accountable and metrics)

The key here is for the executive team to discuss who has responsibility for each and what the one or two essential metrics are that drive performance. When an executive team works through this exercise, it always results in a very engaging discussion which helps to clarify and increase understanding of what really drives the economic engine of the business. Never do participants walk away not having learnt something new about their business and how the organization operates, including insights into further success.

Gary Harpst also highlights these research findings which are both revealing – and very troubling:

  • 85% of leadership teams spend less than 1 hour per month discussing strategy.

  • Only 27% of a typical company’s employees have access to its strategic plan.

  • Only 5% of employees understand their corporate strategy.

  • 92% of organizations do not measure performance indicators.

  • 75% of business improvement (change) initiatives to solve these problems fail due to lack of sustainability.

What do your organizational surveys reveal? If it's anything like this, the good news is that you have a choice. I've seen those businesses that bring a focus and rhythm to their performance start making extraordinary changes in a relatively short period of time. There are many other easy to use tools like this that can grow your business step by step.

Time to shift in a different direction for growth instead of trying to do it alone? Contact us today shift your business into renewed growth!

As a Agile Growth Coach & Certified Business Coach, I utilize my professional expertise every day to ensure clients I work with can successfully ask the right questions to find solutions right for their organization. I offer a proven, practicable and profitable path to success for companies, non-profits, and local governments who want to move beyond their current performance.

Jerome Dickey, MA, ACC, CPHR, Q.Med


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