I know what you’re thinking and that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about "Execution Dysfunction?" Sure you’ve got a plan, maybe even an awesome strategy, but it’s not worth much if you can’t or won’t execute it. How many times have you seen your organization lay out a great roadmap of what they want to do and then 6 months later ask yourself "What happened to that?"
In a meeting a few years ago with two executives from AutoNation they stated that they had the best processes of anyone in the automobile business. In that same conversation a competitor’s name, CarMax, came up. They said "The biggest difference between CarMax and AutoNation is that CarMax actually executes their processes." Shocker. What a shocker.
That wasn’t a slip of tongue, they were simply being truthful. They are no different than many of you, you know what to do, you know how to do it, but you just don’t get it done. You can increase your odds of defeating ED by paying attention to some of the following.
- Get "buy in"-from staff members-Nine times out of ten ED happens when staff members don’t get a real sense of commitment from the top. They hear you say it, but they don’t see you live it.
- Create Accountability-You need to have systems in place to measure what’s supposed to be taking place. Even more important, impose penalties if the measured targets are not achieved.
- Kill the Cancer-There are always those that are naysayers, determined to undermine any changes you bring to the table. Negativity is like a cancer that will destroy the health of your business, and there comes a point where you have to cut out the cancer if the rest of the body is to live. There are some people you need to replace and you must have the courage to do so.
- Properly Train and Re-train-If you think you can put a process in place, train the staff and walk away, you are dead wrong. Training or coaching has to take place every day. There are some aspects of training that have to take place monthly, quarterly or annually. Far too often business leaders want the "shake and bake" method. Shake it up, put it in the oven and that’s the end of it. You have to be willing to train and allocate a certain amount of resources for continued training.
- Develop Your Own-In the example of AutoNation vs. CarMax, the biggest difference between the two is that AutoNation has purchased many dealerships and attempted either to re-train the previous staff or hire people from other dealerships. In the case of CarMax, each time they build a new store they hire new people and train them their way. If you are ever going to grow and remain successful, you have to develop your own staff.
- Celebrate Success-Look for opportunities to applaud people and their "wins." I don’t mean just a pat on the back. Maybe it’s the employee of the month. Maybe it’s a lunch party for the office staff for closing the month out after a hectic last minute rush. Maybe it’s a record month in widget sales. Doesn’t really matter. Find a reason to celebrate.
- Employees are more Important than the Customers-It’s a fact, if you want happy customers then you have to have happy employees. Yes, you want happy customers, but you will never have them unless you can get to the heart and soul of your employees.
- Have a Sense of Humor-It’s ok to laugh at yourself. If your organization has gotten to the point where they can’t laugh and smile then they will have some very miserable days. A lot of miserable days is a formula for failure.
ED isn’t a laughing matter. The best processes in the world are just file drawer filler if you don’t have committed, trained, positive people executing them.
- Create Buy-In, Then Live It
- Develop your Own. Train those that you can, unload those that you can’t
- Celebrating and Laughter is good for the soul.
I wish there was a magical pill I could give you for ED,
but there isn’t. It takes hard work and paying attention. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs