Experts in Front Line Leadership

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Execution: The difference between those who talk a good game and those who get things done.

Organizations are successful when they have employees who get things done instead of just talking about what needs to be done. There are many more people who are ready to either tell you what’s going on or what’s wrong or what needs to get done – there are far fewer people who will actually get it done.

How to tell the difference at work

– Look at who is generating the output and getting the results. They don’t just talk a good game – they walk their talk. Many of the best doers aren’t even good talkers – they prefer to keep their head down and let their work speak for them. That’s not to say that doers don’t sometimes need a little polish. It’s just that we should not discount them just because they are less eloquent.

How can managers do a better job at hiring and promoting people who execute well?

In a job interview, be very worried about a candidate who talks too much about their philosophy and less about accomplishments. Rather than have them tell you they are a team player – have them tell you about how they worked in a team to generate results. Have them be specific about the results they have generated for their organization; how they perservered with very little resources and still achieved results. For promotions – look less at potential and look instead at what the person has accomplished. There is a saying that men get promoted based on potential whereas women get promoted based on results. People who don’t get results need to be confronted, coached. corrected or ultimately weeded out of the organization.

In many cases, the manager themselves is not good at execution. Often they will make excuses instead of getting results. They then tend to surround themselves with like minded people and pretty soon the department, plant or company is not getting results.

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