HOW TO: Have Employees Get Stuff Done

by Sharlyn Lauby on July 24, 2011

Charlie Judy, author of the HR Fishbowl blog, recently penned a post titled Execute this.  It’s an excellent read about the importance of carrying productivity, decision making, decision-makingout plans well.  You know, not just talking about stuff…but getting stuff done (hence a new business acronym – GSD).

It reminded me of a point made in the IBM CEO study I shared a while back.  One of the recommendations discussed in the “Capitalizing on Complexity” study was building operational dexterity.  And they identified the way to accomplish it was by pushing execution speed.  As I see it, there are several ways to do this:

Streamlining processes – Today’s most successful organizations are removing layers.  If decisions take two meetings, three vice president approvals, four forms and a weekly conference call…it’s no longer considered checks and balances, it’s a detriment to business agility.  A terrific, lucrative opportunity could be sitting at your doorstep.  It’s a matter of how quickly you can evaluate it.  If your organization doesn’t move fast enough, someone else will.

Empowering employees – Try not to think of empowerment as the years-old concept of letting employees deal with minor customer service issues without management approval.  This isn’t what today’s empowerment is about.  It’s equipping employees with the tools to recognize and respond to great opportunities when they present themselves.

Better decision making – Both streamlining processes and empowering employees lead to one thing…making better decisions.  Employees should be encouraged to actually make decisions – using a good process – and not be afraid of the consequences.  Companies must change the mentality of “you’re gonna get fired if you make a wrong decision” to “yep, I made that decision and I think it was a good call.”

Organizations need to train employees to make good decisions, set appropriate expectations about the right opportunities to act upon, and give them the authority to take action.  The end result will be a workforce leveraging their opportunities so the business can succeed and profit.  What a concept!

Image courtesy of Mr. Wright

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