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“Great things are accomplished by people who are not afraid to be great.”
- Fernando Flores.

The Journey to Great

It all begins with declaring what you want: What is the vision, the aspiration that you have for your company?
“What does great look like for your company?”
Businesses with a purpose that motivates and taps into the passion of their employees achieve higher levels of productivity and innovation. People want to rally around the purpose of their organizations’.
“How does your vision of greatness inspire and translate to the people who help you realize that vision?”

You need to create a “line of sight” for this vision of greatness that extends from the boardroom to the frontlines of the organization. This begins with the leadership team getting aligned around moving from the vision to the “operationalization” of the vision. You do this by creating a handful of themes and pathways for execution. Each of these themes or pathways becomes the way in which you organize execution and the tracking of execution.
“Connect the vision to the day-to-day job of everyone in the organization.”
You need to make the vision relevant to everyone in the organization. If they can connect the vision to their day-to-day job they will help you achieve what you aspire to. Before people can be mobilized to action they need to understand what it is you are trying to create. These themes or pathways for execution need to be translated into relevant terms that people can relate to the roles and functions that they perform everyday. This is the key to unlocking the passion and enthusiasm that will ensure your success.
“We need to align the “way we do things” around here with the journey to greatness. “
Companies often fall into a “way of doing things around here”. In order to move to the next level and achieve greatness, you need to align the way you run the business with what it is you are trying to accomplish. As an organization, the “way we do things” needs to be aligned with the things that need to get done to realize the vision. For example, are the ways you hire, train, evaluate, reward, and organize your people consistent with and supporting the execution of the vision of greatness that you are holding? Do your HR, IT, financial and budget systems align and reinforce the change effort…or paradoxically do your traditional ways of doing things actually impede the efforts?

To achieve your vision of greatness, you need to clearly translate that vision into an actionable plan. Then you need to commit to what you will do today, tomorrow and over time to make that vision a reality.
“Translate the vision into actionable steps… and then commit to doing them.”
This begins with creating an execution “blueprint” for each of your key themes or pathways. This level of detail makes the vision tangible. This is a key step on the journey. The “blueprint” makes the vision tangible in terms of the actions that need to occur. Next comes creating the commitments to take action. This commitment includes creating a clear way of ensuring that you are staying on track and that you have “staffed the effort for success” with clear accountability for getting things done. The Balanced Scorecard is an example of a tool for doing this. You need clear metrics for knowing that you are winning and changing the behavior in the organization that will drive your final results.
“You need to stay focused on the execution. The day to day pressures of running a business will push the execution of the vision into the background if you do not consciously keep it in the foreground.”
Finally, the leadership team needs to stay on top of the execution of the plan. To do this you need to ensure that the journey to greatness stays on the monthly and quarterly leadership team agenda. Regular and thorough reviews allow you to make adjustments to your blueprint, as you inevitably need to, as the world and the business environment changes. Rapid and nimble adjustments in strategy and execution can create competitive advantages for your organization.