“Imagine if all members of your team could independently and confidently wing it in their roles in a way that you knew would be consistent with the company culture and objectives.” This quote on page 176 of “Scaling up: How a Few Companies Make it…and the Rest Don’t” by Verne Harnish is at the heart of the Execution section and was literally music to my ears.

In the book, the analogy Harnish uses is the synchronicity of jazz, with its mix of improvisation and rhythm. It brought to mind my favorite Jazz band, The Robert Glasper Experiment and how they defy all genre norms while bringing a fresh brilliant spin to their compositions. When we identify specific tasks and habits to  set the stage for flawless execution, we free Techies to improvise and “riff” through their workday, minimizing the need to check in for direction. My goal is to use these principles to free up 80% of our leadership team’s time, and to shift their attention from day-to-day management to pursuing new clients and markets.

Do a Reality Check: The section opened with the “Rockefeller Habits Checklist” which painstakingly covers different functional areas of an organization. The checklist gave us a taste of what the full scale Team Assessment kit will provide. We are exploring the option of assessing our Executive Team to see how healthy and aligned we are by December of this year.

Keep the main thing the main thing:” Harnish quotes the late Stephen Covey in opening the section.  The number 1 priority for us, is to literally determine what our most important and measurable priority (Critical Number) within a 90 day to one-year focus would be. This would be the main goal that will anchor all of our execution planning and activities.

Collect Solid Data: One main execution activity related to the Critical Number is Data. After all, there’s no way to ascertain any measurable achievement without solid data. We are going to start with a really quick and easy survey to our clients, employees and shareholders, asking three simple questions:

  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we stop doing?
  • What should we keep doing?

The most important part of the survey will be a feedback loop, where we will update the employee on whether we implemented their suggestion or not (and why not).

Facilitate Ongoing Communication: When meetings are centered on the key Critical Numbers and routinely scheduled with a purposeful agenda, they “bring focus, alignment, provide an opportunity to solve problems more quickly and ultimately save time.”

One of my goals is to work closely with my Executive Assistant and finalize my  2018 calendar before the next year begins.  We also plan to reassess the purpose of all our recurring meetings and  group our weekly meetings together (so that all 1:1’s are scheduled on the same day, for example). And as part of bringing our techies together, we discussed implementing a peer coaching system at WhirlWind.

The path is laid for us to take on our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) one priority at a time, one celebration at a time, one meeting at a time, one challenge at a time, and ultimately one single step at a time. Or to put it in Jazz terms, we will perfect one musical note at a time, one composition at a time, and empower our techies to improvise and play in concerted harmony.


What excites and motivates you about our direction? Do you have any insights to share? We would love to hear your thoughts!


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