Failure to execute is one of the biggest management issues in the 21st Century. There is one profoundly simple thing we can change, which will dramatically improve execution – we need to get better at making and keeping commitments.
So what’s the real problem?
The biggest problem today is not creating visions, nor is it developing plans at the management level. The real problem is a failure to execute. Balls get dropped, deadlines are missed, deliveries are half-done, priorities constantly change, projects overrun budgets, and initiatives don’t get accomplished. And it’s easy to see why.
Coordination is more difficult as organizations become more and more matrixed, and as the need for collaboration increases, personal accountability becomes more diluted and unclear. Employee engagement is in decline. A return to 20th century command and control hierarchy will not work, as today’s workforce wants more influence over decisions that affect their day to day work, not less. The solution is to develop new processes th
at both improve execution and simultaneously create more commitment.
There is one profoundly simple thing we can change that will dramatically improve execution – we need to get better at making and keeping commitments and we need to use technology to track and continuously update these commitments on the front line.
Scrutiny reveals that our common work norms do not support this principle. In fact, many common work practices actually get in the way. People make vague requests, delivery dates are proposed without confirmation – if they are mentioned at all. Agreements to deliver, when they are obtained, shift and derail without clear dialog. Expressions of satisfaction with the delivery, or of dissatisfaction, are absent. Closure is rarely achieved.
Even worse than these mechanical flaws, we are all familiar with the attendant interpersonal breakdowns. Team members are silent about their cynicism toward a proposed request. Real engagement by employees is lacking, and there is little incentive for contributing any discretionary effort. People work on their favored assignments and leave other tasks to decay. Low trust that deliverables will be met on time forces a need for backup systems and frequent check-ups by “management”.
We have all accepted this dysfunction for long enough. Isn’t it time to disrupt the old system and try something new?
Fewzion is a Commitment Management System which integrates with your high level planning tools and systems and empowers those working in the front line to plan and set goals and track commitments to ensure those goals are met. Visible to all across the Enterprise the Fewzion Solution is the first Commitment Management System which creates real time collaboration between your team and management and provides real increases in productivity, safety and production.
Author: Mark Austin