Everyone knows that great ideas and strategies aren’t worth anything without great execution, right? What we mostly fail to ask is “Why?” Why are we executing the way we are? The Purpose Drives Impact framework gives us a way to examine execution that will keep you on track.
Quick review of Purpose Dives Impact:
Purpose is where everything starts. That’s the Why of your business (also applies to organization, family, etc). Purpose is what you’re committed to in the world. Impact is the outcome. Impact is the result of everything you do. Impact tells you how you’re doing with respect to your Purpose. If your Purpose was happiness, for example, then Impact would be some measure of the increase in happiness that you cause.
The circle in the middle of the model represents everything that you do between Purpose and Impact. See Purpose Drives People and Purpose Drives Strategy for more on those aspects of the framework.
Now let’s turn to Execution. At it’s most basic, to upgrade your Execution, use the Execution Triangle.
Your entire team needs to know what the current priorities are, otherwise, people won’t know what to do at any particular moment. Is it more important to fix this bug right now or work on new features? Should I call a current client or a prospect? Should I schedule a prospect meeting that involves a cross-country flight or work on copy for the new website? Any of these choices could be the right ones, but without priorities, who can tell?
This raises the question, “What should my priorities be based on?” Your purpose, of course, keeping in mind the impact you’re trying to make and measure. See also: Effective Priorities Lead to Less Reliance on the Boss
Imagine a sport stadium without a scoreboard. How would anyone know what’s going on? How could the fans stay in the game? What about the players? And what if the scoreboard was only available online, so you had to get out your laptop or tablet in order to look at it? How effective would that be? The other aspect of scoreboards that’s important to notice is how they force us to display only what’s most important. It’s likely you’re tracking many different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Which of them are most important? Creating a scoreboard is a great way to force yourself to choose. And when you’re choosing, remember Purpose and Impact.
Just as important as the KPIs, your scoreboard needs to track progress towards the priorities we just discussed. See also: Without Keeping Score, There is No Game
If there’s one aspect of business that garners the most complaints, it’s meetings. Why is this? Two reasons:
- Status reports. Just stop giving everyone 5 minutes to report on what they’ve been working on. They don’t serve any purpose. How do you know what’s happening with key initiatives? Look at the dashboard! If it’s not on the dashboard, it’s not a priority, so why are you spending time on it?
- Not driving towards next actions. Anything discussed at a meeting needs to benefit from the collective intelligence of the team, otherwise, why bring it up? If the issue is a priority, then the team can be asking questions to make sure the accountable team member has thought things through clearly and giving feedback to make the plan better (brainstorming, debating, etc). The outcome of this discussion is then the action steps to accomplish that priority. If the team is dealing with a customer issue, then the next actions you’re looking for are either the next interaction with customer, an improvement to the process or both. If there’s a strategic question that needs an answer (e.g. Should we acquire this company?), then the next actions are either an answer to the question (yes or no), or actions that will move the process forward, like research to be done, advisors to consult, smaller group conversation to hash something out, etc.
See also Is your weekly meeting a waste of time? and Cancel Your Weekly Meeting
Purpose Drives Execution
To sum up, the reason Execution matters is because you are about accomplishing your Purpose, which you measure by Impact. If you stay focused on Purpose and Impact, you can stay out of the Execution weeds and make changes that really matter. If you’d like to talk this over, please get in touch: Ted@TedSarvata.com or 312-371-6625.