Keith R Szewczyk

Growth Starts with Delivering on Commitments

In Performance Management on March 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

by: Keith R. Szewczyk

As a Generation X Executive Leader my management mantra is very simple “Continuous performance, continuous change and continuous growth”. This simple but powerful model is the center of success, where each pillar builds off each other. Performance creates credibility, credibility generates change that creates the competitive advantage, and competitive advantages generate growth opportunities.

Performance is a powerful tool for any leader and/or company. The power that a leader gains within their leadership role is generated from the success of delivering on commitments. Forget about all the great ideas or innovations that were already deployed. If you do not deliver on your commitments a perception of weakness will start to overcome your ability to achieve your vision.

Like with anything in life, balance is an absolute if you want to maximize your fulfillment of success. One extreme side of performance management is to micromanage every activity and force commitments to be met no matter what. This will only last for a short period of time and then your leadership aptitude will be compromised to the point of unbalanced control and loss of the organizational support. The other side of the extreme is a very lose environment of accountability for agreed to commitments. If we as leaders do not have the capability to create a culture of accountability, eventually our leadership weakness will be exposed through the company’s bottom line performance…loss of profitability!

Starting with your vision and strategy, the organizational structure must be designed to maximizing the success. Striking the balance of both extremes will yield a level of performance that is demanded by each individual themselves within the organization. No matter how low within the organization they are. The following are some steps that may help in generating the culture of accountability and delivering of commitments:

  • Communicate the company’s vision and strategy. It all starts with the leader of the company continuously defining a vision so colorful and achievable to everyone. Once the vision is felt and the people believe, then the company has a very powerful engine to deliver on almost any challenge. Remember there is a way to communicate a message and way to communicate a vision…successful leaders deliver comprehensible visions.
  • Communicate to your change agents and critics often. It is very critical that you identify your change agents and your critics. Messaging success stories and the vision to your change agents will add the motivating energy needed for them to continue their mission. Your number one challenge is to change your critics to change agents! Therefore, you will need to message to them continuously and keep them in your loop as much as you do your change agents.
  • Clear lines of accountability are created by clear process. People are amazing, and their ability to work hard is natural as long as they feel they are adding value and not wasting their time. You as a leader must make sure that your company’s processes are not impacting or clouding your vision and strategy. It is critical that the level of accountability is transparent and not forced upon your workforce. Re-work your processes with the use of the people to generate an alignment to the vision and strategy. It is critical for your workforce to be involved in the re-engineering and continuous improvement activities to solidify the accountability within your organization.

Most important…let your organization innovate! Growth spawns from innovations that come from everywhere. Once you have the organization intuitively delivering on commitments and operating at a high level of performance, continuous change will boost the growth engine. Build a culture that understands that change is critical for success. Companies that understand the importance of change maximizes it growth opportunities and profitability. Profitability allows the company to reinvest into itself and its people. Once your organization is delivering on commitments and embrace change the rewards are continuous and exciting! Remember to keep the balance…it is your job.

What extreme does your organization fall into today?


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