Excellence in Execution

Excellence in Execution

I would say execution is the link between having a great business idea and obtaining business results. When organizations struggle to achieve what they set out to, then their execution is weak. More often than not it is felt that when it comes to execution, it’s the role of the shop floor manager.  According to the Conference Board’s survey of 769 global CEOs from 40 countries, Excellence of Execution was rated as  the top concern of CEOs  of the 121 different challenges .

 In the book “Execution” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, they state that Execution is just not tactics, it is fundamental to strategy and has to shape it; and it is the major job of the Business Leader.  The book goes on to explain that Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, questioning, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability. It includes making assumptions about the business environment, assessing the organization’s capabilities, linking strategy to operations and the people who are going to implement the strategy, synchronizing those people  and their various disciplines, and linking rewards to outcomes. 

If you sit through a management meeting of strategy or business review and what is discussed is just the a set of  numbers met and the gaps, then I would say there is no “Execution” culture. If the enablers to achieve the results, the causes for failure and the solutions to bridge the gap   are discussed; then there is an execution culture.  And If Operational Excellence tools and approach is used to support the enables, then there is Excellence in Execution.

Organizations that embrace operational excellence have their Six Sigma belts, Lean Practitioners  or  personnel trained on any other improvement methodology, work on improvement projects and drive improvements by cutting costs or by increasing revenues. However if this doesn’t become a culture in the company and if all functional and business heads do not use the scientific approach in their plans and reviews for the regular business activity, then they are not really leveraging on the available knowledge and techniques.  When leaders use scientific approaches then the business strategy evolved will be robust and in line with the corporate strategy and vision; there will  be clear plans on how to execute the strategy and adhering to the plan will fetch the desired results.

To drive this point let’s look at an example, not from Business or Operations  but from the Organizational Development and Learning area  (OD&L ).  If we see that year after year the organization comes up with new interventions, but they are not followed through and driven to a logical end, then it’s just waste of money and resources.  The tools and initiatives may sound fancy to an external person, but did it make business sense is the question  to be asked.  For example, a company set up an Assessment Development Centre in year one, but instead of  validating  the gaps identified and implementing plans to close the gaps; chose to have a new initiative ( say 360 degree assessment) in year two. On the other hand what is desired is make sure that the right OD &L intervention is made first  and foremost and then followed through to its logical conclusion.  There should also be measures of effectiveness to ensure that there is a clear return on investment.

 As stated in the book “Execution”, leaders who excel in execution immerse themselves in the substance of execution and even some of the key details.  They use their knowledge of excellence to constantly probe and question.  

I would say one way to see how robust execution has been in the past in the OD& L function would be  to  look at three years data,  list all the interventions and see what impact they have made to the culture and business.  Questions to ask are- has the money invested resulted in business improvement, enhanced  knowledge and skill of people and has  made positive behavioral changes in groups and individuals; or on the other hand,

has an intervention lead to de-motivation of good candidates, and  has inconsistent approach caused loss of credibility of the management, and not made any significant improvement in business and behaviors.

When leaders are exposed to operational excellence tools or concepts they can apply them to excel in execution.  For example an X Matrix approach can be used ( example given in the figure) to tie up the corporate objectives with that of the OD&L , and establish clear metrics to measure the results.  These leaders can recognize the individual processes and understand the interlinks between the processes.  They will begin to take decisions based on facts and find methods to verify outcomes and validate approaches; and focus on  the  return on investment made .

It is beyond the scope of this article to delve  into the details of an X Matrix, but it can be noted that herein that  all aspects are tied in very well in the matrix. The OD & L objectives  is linked to and derived from the organizational objectives.  The tactical activities to achieve the L&D goals and the related improvement priorities are also evolved.  

Poor execution not only leads to loss in revenue due to inefficiencies, but huge customer dissatisfaction.  Whenever we get upset with the telecom company or the airlines or the bank; it’s most likely not the fault of the front line staff or the call centre officer; but the reflection of a companywide poor execution culture.  

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  • He has personally mentored 550 individuals.
  • He has extensive practical experience and would share the cases handled in the sessions.
  • Trained by Mckinsey Consultants as a Lean Practitioner, Rock Hill-USA
  • Certified MBB in Lean and Six Sigma by SBTI, Texas.
  • He has handled on site training and consulting in global sites at Switzerland, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Belgium, UAE, Srilanka, Thailand, China,Japan, USA and across Indian cities.
  • His online candidates include people from Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Philippines, PNG, Denmark, Lebanon, Kenya.
  • Certified as CEO Coach by completing Post Graduate Program in Executing Coaching by CFI India.
  • Executive General Management Program, IIM Bangalore.
  • M.Tech. Quality Management from BITS Pilani.

PRADEEP KUMAR

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ABRAHAM MATHEWS, SENIOR CONSULTANT

Abraham has more than two decades of experience in Quality Management and Operations, including designing quality, environmental and health & safety management systems, managing industrial engineering activities and heading a Plant.  He is an expert auditor of quality systems and in working with teams to implement robust processes that is sustainable.  Having worked in Aerospace and Automotive industry he understands the Industry requirements and is very meticulous in his approach in implementing the required standards.  He is also a trained Lean practitioner and support training and implementing Lean Manufacturing Systems. He also conducts Yellow belt Six Sigma training and supports Green belt training.

M.BALAJI, Principal Consultant, Management Systems

Balaji is a Mechanical Engineer with four decades of experience with the last thirteen years in Management consultancy.  His expertise is in Management Systems, with extensive experience in training, auditing and supporting implementation of Quality and Environmental Management systems.  He is also a qualified tool designer from NTTF and GTTC.

Balaji keeps abreast of the latest changes in international standards for implementing quality management systems and is a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 22163. Also auditor for  IATF 16949.  He is a  Lead Assessor for EXIM Bank award for Business Excellence model .  With more than a decade of experience in management consulting, he has conducted 600 man-days of training and 250 man-days of audits; working with more than 35 clients.

Pradeep Kumar, Chief Executive

Pradeep Kumar has about three decades of professional experience against his name.  With multi-location and multi-cultural exposure paired with a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma & Lean, Pradeep’s core expertise comes from over a decade of specialization in a large multinational manufacturing company. He is a Certified MBB in Lean and Six Sigma by SBTI, Texas and trained by Mckinsey Consultants as a Lean Practitioner in Rock Hill-USA.

He currently works with large multinational companies, helping them drive Operational Excellence and implement lean strategies. Pradeep also guides senior leadership towards excellence in execution. He has trained candidates in Lean & Six Sigma in India, China, Japan, Thailand, Europe, Middle East, Sri Lanka and the USA; and mentored more than 500 Engineers and Managers in Lean & Six Sigma in India and overseas.  His expertise lies in understanding gaps in current systems, designing more effective processes and mentoring teams to swiftly achieve organizational goals