Managers are on a treadmill – a daily grind towards execution excellence. Driven by competition, internal and external, we get up earlier and work later; desperately seek skills and competencies; design systems and structures; invest in technology; build hierarchies and then try to flatten them; create, monitor and avoid controls; set budgets and targets with shorter and shorter review dates; clutter the day with meetings about what happened yesterday, constantly try to find blame for the past and predict the future; cut costs; cut payrolls and cut corners.
Managers are on a treadmill and it moves faster and faster. They are lonely, live a divided life, and demand more compensation – in the form of bonuses, huge salaries and stock options – for the sacrifices they are making. Danger money?
Yet the awful truth is that the organisations they are managing are standing still or even going backwards. Execution never becomes excellent – it remains mediocre. There seem to be very few exceptions.
More team builds, strategic planning sessions, more carrot and more stick. More effort and most often no sustainable benefit. More command, more control and less response.
Ernst & Young have just published bleak research findings amongst which is the observation that 66% of strategic decisions taken don’t get implemented. A study in the United States amongst senior and top management showed that 69% didn’t know what their company’s vision, mission or objectives were…and didn’t care! Franklin Covey has a process for measuring execution excellence and in most organisations they find it to be worryingly low. Levels of stress, burnout, divorce, however, keep climbing. A recent finding published in the United States suggested that almost a third of the population was clinically depressed.
Why? Why? Why? Because we have lost our balance – personal and organisational. Because we have forgotten that getting things done and finding the energy to do them are both essential. We have to balance them. We have forgotten that willing human energy gets things done far quicker, far better and far cheaper than power and punishment. But you can’t buy it – leaders earn it. It’s not that competence, structure, systems, budgets, bonuses, authority and order are wrong. Far from it, they are essential and they all require management – lots of it. But without willing human energy they are futile.
A modern racing yacht has all of these features – design, competence, structure, process and the captain has to have authority too. But without wind it doesn’t move and any auxiliary motors it may have are not enough to feel its true potential. To feel it “in the groove” only the lightest touch on the tiller is needed.
We can arrange to help you measure your organisation’s execution effectiveness. Your own assessment will challenge you. Even more challenging will be the results from an internal energy survey, which we can help you do.
Then even more exciting is the energy journey when you see the prospect of a high energy team of high energy individuals on a sustainable basis – including yourself! To a yachtsman it’s a steady 50-knot wind from the right quarter; to a glider pilot it is a powerful thermal. To a human organisation it feels like magic.
Spiralling up energy is what excites us most – and what we do best.