Friday, June 27, 2008

Execution With Success Stories

I have mentioned about Execution word few times at least 2 of my previous postings. It is one of the hottest topic about organizational challenges today. In this post I will share about real life case studies or success stories of organization that utilized full use of Execution. Execution is so vital that would be the key of a successful company in implementing activities or projects that delivered results. Results always matter to most leaders, that involved expanding their market share, increase customer loyalty, improve branding awareness, increase profits overall and many others.

Ram Charan used to mention that, it is pointless to spend all the beautiful pictures of strategies and vision without executing it. It often drained most of the resources in an organization tremendously. He put it " Today, the greatest difference between a company and its competitors is its ability to execute. He often got many Fortune 100 companies manager who says, "We have 10 strategic goals" does not know what he is talking about. This manager does not even know which goal is more important. Ram advise that we should have few clear and realistic objectives and priorities. Former IBM Chief, Louis V. Gerstner being interviewed by media on a question " How did IBM achieve and turn around the company performance, What is your secret?" He simply answered, "There is no secret, what we did is to out-execute our competitors during my time" What an amazing answer from Louis!!

Hence, execution plays a very critical component in making whatever dreams realised. There are few examples of real case organization we could learn from;

Mission Federal Credit Union (MFCU), founded in 1961 as a member owned business, is a financial institution that is dedicated to the Educational Community but serves all of San Diego County. It consists of 450 employees who serve 130,000 members in the San Diego Community. In 1995, when Ron Martin became the new CEO, he spent the following year observing the organization and conducting member and employee surveys to find challenges and opportunities for growth. He discovered that the company was in good standing in the community and showed good financial performance, but had a culture which lacked trust and leadership. Departments operated independently, employees did not trust managers, empowerment was low and professional development was non-existent.

“When I first got here people were very apprehensive about sharing their ideas with others, and not very enthusiastic about the company as a whole,” Clouse said. “After implementing the training, managers and employees are more supportive of the company as a whole, the things we do and the direction in which we are moving. Communication has increased and the culture has shifted from one of independence to interdependence.”

Mission Federal Credit Union’s training curriculum has evolved from a single teller training course in 1995 to their current offering of 50 stand-up courses, 65 online modules, self guided studies, and succession planning at various levels throughout the organization. To keep a continual focus on applying the training, Mission Federal Credit Union recognizes a “7 Habits” and a “Leadership” award winner at their annual business meeting. Each of these awards recognizes an individual who has applied the principles and values from the training into their job responsibilities. Their overall xQ score, which measures organization-wide execution capabilities on a scale of 1 to 100, has moved from 63 to 69 since 2002, trust ratings have increased from 50% to 70% and organizational alignment has improved
significantly. They have also integrated the xQ Survey into their strategic plan as one of six measures they use to track progress toward key goals.

Clouse said, “Over time, we have done some great things. We still struggle in some areas, but we are constantly improving and as we continue on this path, I believe we will become a phenomenal and dynamic organization.”

Baylor Health Care System is one of the premier health care systems in North Texas employing approximately 16,000 people who serve more than 110,000 patients annually in 12 hospitals and 85 clinics in North Texas. For 103 years Baylor has not only provided quality healthcare, but has been a major contributor in the community through a variety of programs including, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, The United Way, The American Heart Association, and Habitat for Humanity.

In 2003, the company launched a new initiative in their human resources strategy with a specific focus on improving relationships between employees and managers in an effort to improve employee retention and make Baylor Health Care System a workplace of choice. In order to do this, the human resource team knew that they needed to revamp their leadership training curriculum. They conducted a needs assessment among the key leaders and contributors within the organization to determine the skills and behaviors which needed to be addressed in the new curriculum.


The end result was a curriculum that focuses on increasing such leadership capabilities as problemsolving, conflict resolution and communication. The curriculum also includes a three partevaluation system which provides feedback from participants to determine the effectiveness of thetraining. Part one is a satisfaction survey that attendees complete immediately following the course.Part two measures what attendees have learned using pre and post tests and part three asksattendees to identify how they have applied the training in their own job at Baylor.Over the past 18 months, the Training and Organizational Development Department at Baylor hasadministered over 100 leadership classes with satisfaction and retention score averages of more than90%. Additionally 100% of respondents said they have made behavioral changes as a result of the training.

“By partnering with FranklinCovey to customize our leadership curriculum, we have been able to ensure that everything in the course will directly assist with an individual’s job responsibilities atBaylor,” said Kathy Jones, Training Manager. “It ensures focused use of the time leaders haveavailable for development and training.”

In 1999, A.B. Combs Elementary School was the lowest performing school in their district. They were issued a challenge of mammoth proportion: to invent a learning model in just one week that was different than that of any other school in the nation and would use no additional budget or staff.

While the task was great, Muriel Summers, principal of A.B. Combs Elementary, said of the challenge, “We faced many barriers in order to make this model happen, but we looked at the challenge as an opportunity for change.”
Drawing on her past studies and knowledge of the 7 Habits, Principal Summers suggested a dynamic leadership development model based on the 7 Habits. After researching the idea and finding that no other school in the nation focused on leadership development in children, the school administration presented this model to the school board and proceeded to remake A.B. Combs into the first elementary leadership school in the nation.

“As a result of the program, A.B. Combs Elementary has increased the percentage of students who perform at or above grade level from 67% to 97% in six years,” says Principal Summers. These test scores speak to the success of the leadership development model despite the challenges they continue to face with one of the most culturally and economically diverse student bodies in the world. They currently have the largest number of students in the district for whom English is a second language with students from 58 countries who speak 27 different languages. They are
also a Title 1 school where 45% of the student body receives federal aid for school lunches. Because of their success, AB Combs is respected and revered as a model for other elementary schools who desire similar results. AB Combs receives countless requests for site visits, training and advice on how to replicate their leadership program not only from the education sector but also from businesses and government entities.

“What we have here should be in every school in the world, because this is what an excellent education is all about!” says Principal Summers. “It is so much more than ABC’s, it is teaching children to be successful, good, caring, and compassionate human beings.” By daily living their vision “to become a model learning community of academic excellence and personal leadership,” A.B. Combs Elementary has successfully transformed their school into the first magnet leadership school in the nation and has received numerous awards, including international recognition as the founder and forerunner of elementary school leadership programs, The National Magnet School of Excellence and is one of two finalists as the #1 Magnet School in America.

Sonitel, S.A. was created in Panama City, Panama in 1957. In the year 2000 Sonitel, S.A. became Grupo Sonitel and today employs more than 200 people in three countries and has four commercial companies. Sonitel, S.A. provides information technology to the information worker of the corporations in Central America. It specializes in networking, datacenter, infoware and access solutions. Sonitel, S.A.’s team is a group of 50 professionals whose passion is providing complex IT solutions that deliver a tangible benefit to the customer. Sonitel, S.A. has more than 30% of the networks market, more than 20% of the datacenter market and more than 60% of the infoware market.

In 2001, SONITEL Panama faced three significant challenges: 1) re-defining the company strategy due to drastic context changes that affected core business; 2) dramatically changing the downward trend of their results to an upward trend; 3) changing the habits, mindset, and competency set of teams within the company. Due to drastic changes in the industry they had to move the hardware vendor mentality of the past 45 years to a solution and services culture. If they were not to make this change the company would have gone out of business in less than two years.

There is now an increased awareness and implementation of a principle centered leadership philosophy throughout all levels in the organization. SONITEL Panama has reduced their customer base from 2500 clients, with very little value added to them, to 80 recurring clients, which then share the solutions that are strategic to their business with new potential customers. The company is serving the corporate market and has specialized in high end information technology and communications solutions, leading to a definite upward trend in bottom line results. Their recurrent revenue has grown from $100,000 in 2001 to $1.8 Million in 2005. Productivity has grown from $100,000 per team member to $350,000 per team member. Their customer satisfaction has increased from 4.0 to 4.5.

Teams are motivated and growing professionally and personally. Employees are balancing more personal activities with professional assignments. Managers and employees have a better understanding of their corporate mission;
they have started exercising their self-leadership and recognize the company direction and the importance of implementing their corporate mission throughout the organization.Their plan is now to take the whole organization through FranklinCovey’s FOCUS track as a process rather than a workshop. “We are working with our sales team in an eight month program on ‘Helping Customers Succeed’ and ‘Customer Centric Selling’”. We are also going
to be using the xQ tool every six months. We are going to be using the 4 Disciplines of Execution as a yearly exercise.”

The Company
World Kitchen, LLC is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, U.S.A. Until 1998 it was a subsidiary of Corning Inc. Today, as an independent company, it has offices in Australia, Canada, China, Japan,
Korea, Latin America, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States. It also has a decorating plant and
distribution centre in Malaysia, and the Malaysian operation is the subject of this report. World Kitchen
manufactures, markets, and distributes glassceramic and metal cookware, bakeware, tabletop products, and cutlery. World Kitchen (and Corning) products have led the housewares industry for over 100 years since the introduction of EKCO® baking pans in 1888. The products are sold under well-known and trusted brand names including CorningWare®, Pyrex®, Corelle®, Revere®, EKCO®, Baker’s Secret®, Magnalite®, Chicago Cutlery®,
and OLFA®. Products are sold through multiple channels, including mass merchants, departmentstores, specialty retailers, retail food stores, catalog showrooms, and Kitchen World’s own network of CorningWare®/Corelle®/Revere® Factory Stores located in outlet centres across North America and the world.

The Challenge
For several years, executives at World Kitchen Malaysia believed that the company needed its employees to be more focused on company objectives. They believed it was management’s responsibility to develop the skills in their employees that would allow them to execute their assignments in a more structured manner. In November 2003, World Kitchen Malaysia was introduced to Franklin-Covey’s execution process (now called The 4 Disciplines
of Execution).

This process was implemented throughout all levels of the organization to build a new and better company culture. Twenty–six staff members attended the execution training course, starting with the general manager and including key management personnel representing all departments (Finance, Administration, Human Resources, Information Technology, Production, Planning, Warehouse, Quality, and Engineering and Distribution). The company set yearly goals using the standard execution-process tools: the Importance Screen, Measurement Builder, and Work Compass. They maintained commitment to company goals through weekly team engagement and accountability meetings.

Since 2004, World Kitchen employees have met with their direct supervisors at the beginning of each week to discuss their Work Compasses and schedule their Outlook® planner. These Work Compass sessions focus on the quarter’s three Wildly Important Goals (WIGs), the current week’s progress toward the goals, and the plans for the following week. The weekly engagement sessions have become a leading indicator of potential problems in achieving the WIGs, and they allow action to be taken prior to the objectives’ deadline at the end of the month. Scoreboards are used regularly to track progress.

The Results
The company’s primary concerns are quality, service, cost, and productivity. The impact of ingraining these concepts deep within the organizational culture has been shown in comparing year-to-date 2004 results with 2003, prior to the training. Outgoing quality, measured in parts per million, has improved 69 percent. Service levels have been maintained above 98 percent as compared to the previous average of 70 percent. Cost, as measured
by manufacturing cost per piece, has been reduced by 5 percent. Productivity, measured by pieces per labor dollar, has remained constant despite the increasing salary increments. Executives at World Kitchen Malaysia believe that
integrating the execution principles and tools into the leadership process has contributed significantly to the company’s increasing international success and has helped maintain their competitiveness in a tough environment.

The City and County of San Francisco, founded in 1847, employs 26,000 people who serve 744,230 residents. In 1997, a survey of 12,000 city and county employees identified a significant need for improvement in management and leadership. Consequently, Robert Sanchelli, Director of Training for the City and County of San Francisco, and his team started shopping for a training program to improve leadership and management citywide. After reviewing various training programs, Sanchelli and his team selected FranklinCovey and implemented The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshop in various departments at all levels of the city organization.

“This unbeatable combination of FranklinCovey Solutions, is building the capacity of the San Francisco public workforce to meet the 21st century challenges of this 10-year, multi-billion dollar program,” said Sanchelli, “and to achieve our responsibilities of environmental stewardship and sustainable resources.”

In his nine years partnering with FranklinCovey in different training capacities for the City and County of San Francisco, Sanchelli has personally trained more than 2,000 city managers, supervisors and citizens with FranklinCovey Solutions. He and his teams have arranged and hosted five FranklinCovey certification programs for 75 city, federal and private sector employees in an effort to bring FranklinCovey training solutions to managers and employees in 60 city departments. “I have only been doing, these nine years, that which I enjoy most,” said Sanchelli. “I’ve been helping people in San Francisco explore, come to know in their hearts, live and teach the timeless principles that Stephen Covey, Hyrum Smith and FranklinCovey have shared with the world.”

Most success stories above were utilizing partnership with FranklinCovey Consulting Team to design a solution that will create an Execution cultural and tools within the company. If noticed, I did not elaborate on the actual solution as it involved lengthy details which might send some of us back into bed again. On the other hand, indirectly I'm promoting some of the great solutions from FranklinCovey Team. It was not my original draft in this blog.

I hope after reading some great stories elaborated above from few companies around the globe, would you want to work for such a company? or would you want to create your own execution culture? or perhaps treat it as a learning experience that may benefit yourself as well as your client. It may stir up your adrenaline now, and I suggest you start to kick some butt and make it happened immediately.

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