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Scaling Up Execution

Of all of the execution tips and ideas within Verne Harnish’s book, the Rockefeller Habits Checklist is quite possibly the most important set of information. The list is comprised of 10 must-know habits that enable the successful execution of your strategy. It greatly increases profitability and reduces the time it takes to manage the business. But take note, these are not habits to enact all at once. This is a process of focusing on one to two habits a quarter and then refreshing them periodically.

The Habits

  • “The executive team is healthy and aligned.” The executive team needs to have the freedom to debate with each other and offer constructive criticism. Patrick M Lencion’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable details the harmful situations that could lead to your leadership team falling apart such as lack of trust, lack of motivation, fear of conflict and other important factors.
  • “Everyone is aligned with the number #1 thing that needs to be accomplished this quarter to move the company forward.” Employees all need to focused on the same goal, but there also needs to be a “finish line” for everyone to celebrate afterwards.
  • “Communication rhythm is established and information moves through the organization accurately and quickly.” Ideally, an effective periodical rhythm will consist of a meeting weekly or monthly rather than quarterly or annually.
  • “Every facet of the organization has a person assigned with accountability for ensuring goals are met.” Each level must have an individual who is responsible for monitoring progress and making changes when it is not moving as it should. These roles must be clear through different functions as well as different processes.
  • “Ongoing employee input is collected to identify obstacles and opportunities.” A big part of the qualitative data collected to guide strategy must come through employees, especially those interacting with customers. Harnish recommends a senior leader talking to a different employee each week to discover what the company has been doing well, what the company has been doing wrong and what is missing.
  • “Reporting and analysis of customer feedback data is as frequent and accurate as financial data.” Another big part of the qualitative data must come directly from the customers themselves. Harnish recommends senior leaders ask customers about competitors or general market knowledge rather than the company’s specific product or service.
  • “Core Values and Purpose are ‘alive’ in the organization.” The core values must be regularly used to guide all HR systems in the company. The purpose provides the reason for everything employees do.
  • “Employees can articulate the following key components of the company’s strategy accurately.” Ideally, all employees will align their individual actions with company strategy. They need to fully understand the company’s “10-25 year goal (BHAG);” the target customers; the three Brand Promises that must be kept; and what the company does.
  • “All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week.” Employees must know the priorities for the week and whether or not they reached them.
  • “The company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone.” According to Harnish, some of the top companies in the workforce today make their plans and performance clear to everyone. If you want to scale up your business, follow suit and make scoreboards that are easily visible to everyone.

Recommended Reading

  • Patrick M. Lencion’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

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