In the book, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, the authors describe seven essential behaviors in creating an environment of execution. The seven behaviors are: know your people and your business; insist on realism; set clear goals and priorities; reward the doers; expand people’s capabilities and know yourself (as a leader). These seven behaviors struck a chord with me as I read them because they make sense and are practical. One of the most frustrating things I find with my current position is the lack of execution on many fronts. In the past, I have tended to fault the lack of follow up for one of the main reasons for failure to execute. Follow up is critical for any institution’s success, to be sure, but it is not enough. A culture of execution and getting things done is needed. If leaders fail to execute time and time again, those the leader is expected to lead will eventually stop believing what they hear. Overall morale decreases and jokes are told behind people’s backs. You can almost hear the sarcasm and scorn now, “Did you see the memo that we’re implementing a new training policy?” asks one employee. “Yeah, sure, that will be the day,” responds the other. Failure to execute in the past on more than one level provides a lack of confidence going forward. No organization can thrive like this. I would suggest even that such an environment is a sinking ship struggling to stay afloat and that the end of the business is just a matter of time.

In contrast, imagine working at an institution where the leaders are realistic in their vision and the current environment; goals and priorities is clear and is attainable with work; the best employees are treated well and incentives are created for all to push themselves (both on their own and as needed by leaders’ encouragement) in furtherance of the goals and priorities of the business. The distinction between the two environments is unmistakable. It is difficult to understand why some institutions have yet to figure this out, even after years of watching employees leave due to the same concerns and issues. Execute your business correctly and I promise that people will be lining up at the door.


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