What stands out for me however is the ability of lions to remain focused on the hunt, to finish off what they started. In their world, execution is a matter of life and death. They don’t have the luxury of coming back tomorrow or start again in the new financial year or wait for HQ approval. There is only one opportunity at any given moment and it is all about executing as efficiently as possible. There is an intelligence of execution=XQ
This intelligence to finish what is started is desperately needed in our world. Most organisations have plenty of IQ. Never before in history have so much talent, creativity and raw intellect poured into the workforce. A lot of "smarts" goes into the development of organisational plans and strategies these days, normally the traditional focus of the best and brightest. Organisations spend millions to recruit, grow and retain this intellectual capital.
There's also a need for EQ, or emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman has popularized EQ as an essential trait of good organisational leadership. It is about being smart about feelings, how we respond to others and how we choose to react in different situations.
Steven Covey however warned organisations in his last book, “You can have talented people and a superb strategy and still fail. Many do. The reason? It's rarely for a lack of plans or vision. It's bad execution. As simple as that: not getting things done, being indecisive and not delivering on commitments. Close to 70% of organisational failures are due to poor execution, -talking a lot but poor at finishing.”
Why do we have this problem of lack of execution?
- No Clarity: Do you have clear organisational goals? Would your staff be able to list your organisation’s most important goals?
- No commitment: Restructuring initiatives have eroded much needed commitment and focus. Very few key individuals truly embrace the organisation’s goals. Do your employees feel committed to the goals of your organization?
- There is no line of sight between organisational goals and the work people do: Only one in five employees has clearly defined work goals, and one in 10 clearly understands how his work relates to the organization's top priorities.
- No focus on priorities: People want to contribute to achieving the important goals of the organisation but cannot because they are consumed by less important priorities. By their own account, people spend less than half of their time on crucial organisational goals. Key individuals spend most of their day on urgent but irrelevant tasks or pointless bureaucracy.
- No accountability: Employees are rarely if ever called upon to report on progress or lack of progress. Do people really feel the responsibility to perform? What are the consequences for underperformance or non-conformance? Serious issues fall through the cracks and errors go uncorrected.