Sticking to your mission statement and setting up execution routines

Organizations of all types seem to be muddling through because of an inability of two purposes of management (a) Defining your mission and (b) Set up execution routines and people; that deliver that mission.

The trouble is that the mission is muddled and like a re-branding exercise seem to be an easy target for consultants , new CEO’s who want to “leave their mark.” So the mission exercise like re-branding and re-launch exercises are repeatedly done without really appreciating the difficulties of execution. Just ask a teacher – how hard it is to get a new class project going and it gets harder as the students grow up and bring their own spins, to what the teacher thinks is- pretty clear instructions.

Talking about innovation, the Product Innovation Charter (PIC) is a subset of the overall organization’s mission and tends to be a medium term type of document. It’s really worthwhile to spell out the PIC for every new initiative so that portfolios of products can be developed around that initiative. And the C-Suite must sign and “own” the PIC before time and money is spent via the innovation teams.

But it is the teams themselves who must execute and execution is about that dull thing called routines… For example, the team meets (virtually , through Skype ) if they are at different places in the world at the same time and day periodically. The routine activities for execution are well set up like:

  • If say costing estimates are required – the cost accountants within the Finance and Accounting department have a routine to deliver estimates say within a week and are designated  people outside the innovation team. In other words, the cost accounting routine is a “plug and play” feature of the organization.
  • And so for the arm that is able to get a prototype developed – fast.
  • Or a concept testing market research agency that is lined up and ready to move.

Thus the routines part of execution is about having organizational capabilities that speak to the requirements of the innovation process like costing,prototypes,concept testing research etc. But the question is who in the organization can connect and make these things move? And that brings us to the people part of organizations made famous by Jack Welch GE’s 4E and 1P that this blog has been talking about. However,without routines the best PIC or the best people cannot deliver. And if you are afraid of routines becoming bureaucracies- just have a routine for reviewing routines ! So every 2-3 years ask for bids from concept testing research providers, for example.

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