'Execution Gaps' Undermine Company Goals

Compiled By Traci Purdum According to FranklinCovey, a provider of effectiveness training, productivity tools and assessment services, many companies suffer from "execution gaps" that undermine the achievement of the company's highest priorities. Indeed, FranklinCovey's recent Execution Quotient (xQ) survey of over 11,000 U.S. workers found that only 44% clearly understand their organization's most important goals, only 19% have clearly defined work goals, just 9% feel that their work has a strong link to their organization's top priorities and workers spend 32% of their time on activities that have little relevance to their organization's most important goals. "The greatest gap in organizations today lies between the determination of a few high priorities and following through on the details of those priorities with discipline and passion," says Stephen R. Covey, vice chairman of FranklinCovey and author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," (1989, Simon & Schuster). "In today's competitive, global marketplace, organizations that do not focus and execute on their highest priorities will not excel." Covey offers these tips to improve focus and execution:

  • Clarify the top goals of the organization. There is no more important activity than for leaders to establish clear, key goals and then communicate those goals to all levels of their organization.
  • Translate top organizational goals into action. Workers at all levels must clearly see how their work aligns with the top goals of the organization.
  • Ensure buy-in and commitment to the top goals. Involving people in the formulation of the goals not only creates better goals, but also creates buy-in and commitment.
  • Follow-through with discipline. Employees should think through their priorities, determine where they can make their greatest contributions and then have the discipline to stick with their plan.
Harris Interactive conducted the U.S.-based xQ survey for Salt Lake City-based FranklinCovey. It was executed online between Sept. 26 and Oct. 17, 2002, and included full-time employees across 11 major industries.
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