The Challenge of execution – VI Engaging people

The process of execution is not a machinery but a human organism. The key to effective execution lies in building executive competence in people.

The executive, as a human being, is the foundation of execution. System and process are soulless without people. Effective execution requires building executive competence in people and this must begin with strategy. The strategy-team must have people who are going to execute the strategy and who can bring executive realism to strategy. In a more psychological perspective strategy-team should contain the following type of people:

  • Big-picture thinkers with conceptual skills.
  • Accomplished line-executives with a well-developed pragmatic mind.
  • Front-line workers or executives with a capacity for keen observation and an alert instinct for facts.

When we move from strategy to operation we need people who have a fire in the belly and feel joy in getting things done. Larry Bossidy, Chairman and CEO of Honey-wide International Inc. describe what the qualities which make executive competence are:

“The first things I look for are energy and enthusiasm for execution. Does the candidate get excited by doing things, as opposed to talking about them? Has she brought that energy to everything she’s done, starting with school? I don’t care if she went to Princeton or to Podunk State; how well did she do there? Is her life full of achievement and accomplishment? What does this person want to talk about? Does she talk about the thrill of getting things done, or does she keep wandering back to strategy or philosophy? Does she detail the obstacles that she had to overcome? Does she explain the roles played by the people assigned to her? Does she seem to have the ability to persuade and enlist others in a mission?”

The next question is how to keep the executive talent motivated and engaged. Performance based rewards are essential for motivating people with executive competence. However in assessing performance how they achieved the results is as important as the achievement. A manager may achieve the numbers by authoritative bullying of his subordinates. But such crude ways of achieving results will destroy the morale of people. So, assessment of performance should be based on a holistic perspective which goes beyond quantitative results and includes qualitative factors like ethics, values, relationship with people and long-term vision.

Courtesy : VILAKSHAN, XIMB Journal of Management


The author is a student and practitioner in the path of integral yoga.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha loading...