Getting things done – A Key Strength of Successful Leaders

Have you ever taken the Gallup StrengthsFinders test?  (www.strengthsfinder.com)  It is a really neat personality test that reports back your top 5 strengths out of 34 possible personality traits.  It is by far the most accurate, and useful personality test I have ever used.

In the spirit of full disclosure, here are my strengths:

  1. Achiever
  2. Learner
  3. Maximizer
  4. Strategic
  5. Input

As CEO of AchieveIt, it seems entirely fitting that my #1 strength is Achiever.  I pride myself on getting things done.  I am the sort of guy who keeps lists and checks things off as I go.  As a leader of an organization, it is my responsibility to ensure that the company meets its goals.  As management guru Larry Bossidy (former chairmen of Honeywell) and Ram Charan wrote in their best-selling book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done  (http://www.ram-charan.com/books/execution/ ) , “Execution is the job of the business leader”.  If you aren’t  getting things done, the rest just doesn’t matter.

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However, it can be challenging to achieve your objectives- and get the right things done – through a group of people.  Does this sound familiar?  You hold an all hands’ meeting to discuss the plan for the year.  You email it out to everyone.  January goes by, and you are already nervous that the organization is not fully executing the plan.  Why?

  • First, you know that most your employees are not thinking about the plan every day. Almost immediately after you emailed out the plan to everyone, it sank to the bottom of their inboxes, rarely, if ever, to be seen again.
  • Second, it is really difficult to monitor how all parts of the plan are proceeding. You have to send out emails asking people about status.  You have to hold update meetings.  You have analysts and project managers whose primary job is getting updates from people.  Still, you don’t have visibility into everything in real time.  Things just get missed.

These two issues in turn cause two major problems:

  • It is hard to know where to intervene to help make course corrections when the plan is off track. You would love to be able to fix things before the whole plan goes off the rails.
  • It is very difficult to hold employees accountable for getting their pieces of the plan done. This jeopardizes achieving the plan.  Moreover, lack of visibility into employee execution can allow poor performers to continue working in the organization.  That can demotivate your “A” players as well.

So what can you do to join the list of high achievers known for getting things done? 

It would seem that there should be some enterprise software that is purpose-built to help leaders achieve their objectives through the collective actions of employees.  For goodness sake, sales organizations have been using CRM tools like Salesforce.com (www.salesforce.com) for decades to collectively achieve sales targets.

That is where AchieveIt comes in.  We have developed the software platform that helps all of the rest of the organizations in a company achieve objectives.  We use it internally here at the company.  Come check us out at www.achieveit.com or send me an email at pcarmody@achieveit.com.

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Meagan M. Flores
Meagan M. Flores
Meagan M. Flores is the Vice President of Marketing for AchieveIt. A genuine 'problem-solver', when Meagan isn't nose-down in the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, you can find her leveraging her expertise spanning early stage startups to mature growth enterprises to comment trends and best practices related to strategy development and execution, leadership and revenue marketing.