Assess your against these six essential “execution” behaviors:
1. Know your people and your business. In the mid-1990s, legendary CEO Jack Welch learned a new method for making faster turns on inventory, which generates more cash and increases return on investment. He was given the name of a leader in this practice: Emmanuel Kampouris, the chief of American Standard, who, in some plants, had achieved as many as 40 inventory turns compared to the average four. Welch was so excited that he visited Kampouris and sat between two plant managers at dinner, questioning them closely.
2. Insist on realism. When Larry Bossidy took over Allied Signal, he uncovered two different versions of reality: While his people said they were filling orders at a 98 percent rate, his customers said it was 60 percent.
Instead of dealing with the customers’ unhappiness, his managers seemed to think they had to show that they were right and the customers were wrong.
3. Focus on no more than three or four priorities that will produce the best results from the resources you already have. And make it plain how you expect those priorities to be executed.
4. Follow through. How many meetings end without clear directions about who will do what and when? Make sure everyone works according to a schedule, for everything and at all times.
5. Expand people’s capabilities. If you can thoroughly explore a problem, raising the questions and bringing out the realities that will lead to solutions, that will help your people grow.
6. Know yourself. The best leaders aren’t always the most brilliant or experienced ... but they do possess emotional fortitude. They’re self-confident enough to make hard decisions, face conflict, correct problems, learn from their mistakes and respect people.
— Adapted from Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Crown Business.