by Asim Jalis
These days I am listening to the book called "Execution: The
Discipline of Getting Things Done", by Larry Bossidy and Ram
It is quite good. The authors are men of action, people who get
things done, and not theorizers. This is both good and bad. It's
good because they have credibility. It's bad because their
analysis could be cleaner. Nevertheless, there is enough meat in
the book to make it worthwhile.
B&C's main point is that to execute one must be connected to
Before executing on the plan get as much information as possible.
Realize that reality is constantly evolving and you cannot know
everything. But make an attempt to test some of your assumption.
Second, you must follow through. The key to success in execution
is not a great strategy, but rather great follow through. Keep at
it until you are done.
Follow through requires setting up a way to measure success and
failure. This is essentially the idea of test-first applied to
life. Define the exit criteria before you start and then stay
focused on it.
Suppose you call a company with a problem and they leave you
waiting on the phone and then never resolve your issue. That is
an organization that does not understand follow through. Chances
are they also don't measure percentage of calls completed or the
satisfaction level of customers.
Compare them to a company that stays on the line till your issue
is resolved, and then calls you back the next day to ensure that
you are satisfied. The second organization knows how to execute.
It is likely that they have a system that tracks their follow
At work I have started keeping an excel spreadsheet containing
all the issues that I need to resolve for other people and how
long it takes me to resolve them. My current job is extremely
customer oriented. We develop internal tools for MS Exchange. The
users are Exchange product developers. The interesting thing is
that most people in my group don't realize that our job is
customer oriented. They believe it is a technology oriented job.
I am also interested in sending out surveys to people to measure
their level of satisfaction. I have to figure out an easy and
cheap way to do this.
I got these ideas for surveys and for tracking issue closure time
from Microsoft's internal IT group. They are the best IT group I
have ever interacted with. And a lot of it has to do with this
focus on measurement that they have.