How great leaders implement

Sep 16, 2010

On Monday we looked at the seven-word summary of how to effectively grow a business: consistently making and implementing high quality decisions, and we saw that doing so involves three stages: 1. Investigation, 2. Interpretation and 3. Implementation.On Tuesday I explained that when it comes to the first area (Investigation), the three most common weaknesses I see in business managers and leaders are usually one of Intellectual Rigor, Financial Understanding or Embracing External Change.

Yesterday we discussed the three elements of successful Interpretation: Stamina, Discipline and Objectivity.

Today I want to share the three challenges leaders face in the area of Implementation – in other words, what happens after the data has been collected, assessed, and the decision is made.

The three areas I see leaders struggle with most are:

1. Communication

Moving from decision-making to implementation requires first of all the commitment to fully explain, to as many stakeholders as possible, as often and in as much detail as is required, the reasoning and implications of all key decisions.

So often, great decisions get undermined right here – don’t explain to people right (or don’t explain to the right people), and all the good work you put in at the Investigation and Interpretation stages is wasted.

2. Consensuality

Of cours,e communication is not enough if it is merely a one-way dialog. The goal is to achieve consensuality through early and frequent consultation with key individuals – specifically, those holding authority, responsibility and/or influence over the implementation or outcome of key decisions.

Note that this does not mean that the business is being run as a democracy (it could be, but that’s not what’s required here) – just that the key people involved in implementing a decision are reasonably involved in structuring the process of implementation.

3. Accountability

And finally the big sink-hole, Accountability. You can do everything that gets you up to this point – maybe 90% of the entire decision-making and implementation process, but without effective accountability the whole thing goes to pot.

Great leaders know that they need to establish formal structures and processes in which not just the team, but the leader his- or herself is also held accountable for implementation of their responsibilities, duties and commitments.

As I’ve said a number of times, most of us are good at two of these areas, and weak on one (if you were weak on two or more, you wouldn’t be in a leadership position).

When it comes to implementing decisions, which of Communication, Consensuality or Accountability do you need to work on?