Execution in high-performance organisations is keeping the organisation fit, or making it fitter, at fulfilling its purpose. It requires:

  • focus on the path set by the strategic direction
  • discipline to maintain that focus and take each initiative to completion
  • urgency, to make sure the whirlwind of day-to-day operations doesn't sabotage the change effort
  • leverage, to get the highest return possible from the investment of our limited time, effort and money.

What we're doing in practising the habit of Execution is implementing change initiatives that can take a big bite out of our performance gaps, closing as much of the gap between current performance and targeted performance as possible.

Execution means improvement

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US wanted to reduce the time it took to find placements for those people who didn't pass the flight controller's exam (referred to as ‘training failures'). They measured the Training Failure Processing Time: the average number of days between failing the exam and taking up a new placement. Training Failure Processing Time was sitting at an overall average of 67 days, but from month to month it varied chaotically between 40 and 110 days. This meant a lot of lost productivity as the people who failed the exam waited for alternative assignments, and a lot of angst for those people as they waited in limbo to find out whether they had a job and, if ...

Get Prove It! now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.