Leadership has many facets, one of which perhaps under-valued for executives: the ability to lead execution towards the delivery of outcomes, especially when strategic initiatives are concerned. Leading execution effectively requires the ability to design and implement systems and processes that contribute to the following:
- creating a clear, shared vision of goals and objectives, and how the goals and objectives of a specific team relate to the broader objectives of the organisation;
- prioritising activities to match the available capacity of teams or organisations at any one time: this is often neglected, as organisations tend to add to their lists of initiatives without ever removing work that has decreased in priority – this creates distraction at best and frustration at worst, when there is insufficient clarity about where to focus efforts;
- monitoring progress and making it visible to everyone: this enables individuals to harness their own energies and motivation towards the work. In a recent book, The Progress Principle, the authors describe how the strongest contributor to work satisfaction was the sense of making progress in meaningful work.
Designing and implementing such systems and processes requires awareness of modern work management methods (e.g. Agile) and motivation theory. Executives capable of enabling their people to explicitly make progress on meaningful work on a consistent basis achieve much more than delivery: they also create workplaces where meaning and well-being through work is at the centre.