Success is a marathon, not a sprint. As a senior leader who has built a reputation of being a transformational change agent with unflagging enthusiasm and tireless dedication to innovation, I know that very well. That’s why I have come up with a system that helped me live up to the high standards I preach.
Throughout my career, I asked myself many times what were the key factors to implement in order to do great work. More than that, I wanted to find a system that other people on my team could learn and implement to achieve successful outcomes—for themselves and our clients. That’s how I came up with the “Five Es” as my guiding principles to drive high productivity, boost employee morale, improve team performance and deliver positive outcomes that are realistic, achievable and measurable.
The Five Es are: Effectiveness, Efficiency, Execute on plan, Employee satisfaction and Exceed expectations, and they can help any organization holistically excel across every pillar of performance and achieve excellence. Below is a detailed explanation of each of them. I welcome you to leverage them in your day to day work to maximize your success.
Have a clear vision, mission statement and time bound roadmap to achieve specific goals. Build the right organizational construct, service delivery model, governance and quality controls to effectively deliver and support your services across all customer constituencies. Eliminate misalignment between service delivery organization and its recipients that then leads to various degrees of ineffectiveness. Establish the right service level agreements properly aligned to your organization’s business objectives and associated operational goals. Define the right success criteria and necessary performance metrics to measure against them. Extend high degree of transparency and predictability to the customer, wherever applicable. Focus on quality, without exceptions.
Make rational investment choices by diligently evaluating opportunity cost and ROI to decide on “pursuing the opportunity” vs. “build in-house” or “outsource to third party supplier” through established process framework. Minimize or eliminate redundancy by consolidating organizations, tools, frameworks and teams. Continuously improve service quality by applying corrective measures from lessons learned through closed-loop delivery mechanism. Establish tight integration and collaboration with interdependent organization and service recipients. Introduce innovation, automation, process rigor and quality assurance in service delivery model to dramatically reduce productivity leakage due to poor quality and rework. Reduce complexity in all stages and phases of project life cycle. Optimize employee related expenses by having the right skills, experience and sourcing mix. Harness globally distributed delivery capabilities (GDDC) wherever appropriate. Have the right mix of suppliers (small to large) in your vendor portfolio. Seek contingent labor or services from strategic suppliers to supplement or complement your capabilities or capacity constraints to address sudden surge of demand.
Execute on Plan
No strategy will yield true results unless they are meticulously managed and executed. Hence, as leaders, you need to select the “right” team to execute the job. Leaders should motivate their teams and drive a sense of urgency to achieve goals in a time bound manner. By determining the goal your organization wants to achieve, then you should work the plan and timeline backwards from your goal. Extend autonomy to leaders to infuse passion, accountability and ownership, yet maintain close oversight at a macro program level to avoid sudden surprises. While implementing your plan don’t let your desire for perfection stand in the way of achieving solid performance metrics. Successful results on a right plan are always quick, more efficient and effective than perfection. Timely apply course corrections, when required, to prevent any major slippages. Offer frequent status updates to customers and other stakeholders to highlight the purpose and benefits of the strategy.
Understand employee aspirations and explore the right avenues to map it to your organization’s goals. Establish the support structure to assist employees in their career progression path. Create stars (employees who “walk the talk”) instead of divas (“talk and don’t deliver.”) Manage employee utilization and work load properly. Offer challenging assignments to employees in addition to their routine work to improve employee engagement. Introduce talent transformation programs to offer employees desired skill gap trainings. Institutionalize innovation and continuous improvement programs that can positively contribute to improved quality and financial performance. Reward excellence.
Drive high level of customer engagement and intimacy. Set the right expectations and manage them well. Under promise and consistently over deliver. Secure customer satisfaction survey at a regular frequency. Act timely on customer feedback through an action register and action plan. Educate the customer on the progress of the action plan and benefits.
I have been consistently blessed with the privilege to secure mentoring from senior leaders of highest pedigree present in the industry. Coaching from these mentors played a critical role in shaping my work philosophies and I dedicate my success to them who have guided me through various phases of my professional career.