Bad Driver and ExecutionIf you did a survey of drivers I think that you would find that 80% of them consider themselves to be of above average capability. I know I fall into that category yet I am guilty of speeding (most of the time), rolling stops (often) and running yellow lights (sometimes.)

In reality, I am probably a below average driver and yet because I don’t get caught, I figure I’m above average. After all I have a friend (Tom are you there?) who gets caught speeding half a dozen times a year. He is definately below average.

But what about execution?

I figure its the same thing with execution. Most managers out there probably think they are above average at execution. Well if this is true (statistically impossible) why does HBR think that execution is the biggest problem in business today?

I finally figured it out and of course it has to do with the way people are managed. If a company has a results-based management focus and good metrics then people can know with precision whether or not they are executing well.

However this isn’t the case with most companies. Most of them are activity-focussed, manage activities and use metics that track activities. If they don’t have a measured, causal relationship between activities and results then they’ll never know whether they are any good at execution.

And because there is no one explicitly in charge of execution (we all are) and thus no one measuring it, no one really ever has a way of finding out whether or not they are any good at executing.

Which brings up the dreaded annual appraisal. Is there anyone out there whose appraisal is any good at dealing in an objective manner with execution?

So there we have it: No one in charge, poor metrics, activity orientation instead of results, poor appraisals means no one really knows if they are any good at execution. (But I’m sure you’re all great drivers – except Tom of course.)