The Problem with a Culture of Execution

Culture of Execution

The GOST Model is an excellent framework to chart the path from vision to goals, and the actions required to achieve the them.  It begins by clarifying where we are going, encouraging us to set clear goals.  These goals are then translated into the actions required to achieve them.  We start by defining high level actions, called strategies and break these down into more detailed tactics.  The day to day, week to week actions, which when put together drive progress to the goal.

Having this clarity is very helpful, especially in today’s world full of distractions.  Without clear goals and action plans, it is easy to go off the path.  To follow what seems like an interesting detour, only to find it leads nowhere.  Some companies, like Intel, excel at this.  They have a very disciplined, culture of execution.  

This culture served Intel well, especially focusing the whole company on job #1, as it was called.  Job #1 was winning the PC microprocessor market, and Intel excelled.  They dominated the PC market and still do today.  While the culture served Intel well, it also led to some big problems.

The Problem with a Culture of Execution

The culture of execution drove Intel to persist with a path of action.  More often than not, it turned out well, as I mentioned above.  But from time to time, Intel persevered with something long after it should have stopped.  A good example is a technology called Proshare.  This was an early PC-based videoconferencing solution.  I remember buying an early consumer version and excitedly having a called with my brother in the UK.  It took us an eternity to get it working and the quality was very poor.  The product was years ahead of its time and too immature to succeed in the market.

The story of Proshare is an example of rigidly following a strategy and losing sight of the ultimate goal.  Success became defined by completing tactics and strategies, essentially doing the work.  This illustrates one of the key values of the GOST Model.  It balances action (strategies and tactics) and results (goals and objectives).  

Don’t Lose Focus on the Goal

To do this, I recommend using a disciplined review process that not only focuses attention on execution, one that also focuses on results.  The most important question is ‘will this action lead us to achieve the goal?’  If the answer is no, it’s time to consider if new actions are required and also to determine if the goal needs to change.  After all, when we create a goal and plan, it is only a hypothesis about how the future will unfold.  We need to be flexible and take account of reality.

Join me on October 8th at the GOST Model webinar to learn more about how leaders translate vision into action and results.  Learn more at the link below.