Groundwork for a Performance Ready Company

CMC Network is a progressive group of contractors who are committed to creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive industry. We help contractors of all sizes build capacity.

Our proactive network is taking the forefront in providing strategic information and discussions on the challenges facing the industry because our core purpose is to help construction companies achieve their goals. We do this a variety of ways, depending on each companies timelines, outcomes and the strategy for moving forward. One of the biggest impacts we can have is helping create a foundation for execution ready plan.

In order for execution ready plans to have their best chance at coming to fruition, they should be paired with execution ready organizational cultures.

Execution ready plans are plans with well-defined benchmarks and goals that align with long term strategy and financial goals for the company, clear success criteria, start and end dates, responsible parties, and detailed project plans to achieve success.

Laying the right habits on top of the wrong culture just makes the collapse that much bigger. If your team isn’t ready and willing for accountability and improved results, your efforts to establish stronger execution habits could be in vain, look for sandbagging, reluctance to participate, and defending the status quo.

Even if you have expert consultants, a solid network, spend time developing best practices, strategies, goals, and set up meetings to do the work, if the executive staff and culture rewards the wrong behaviors, the company won’t reach its potential.

Here are some red flags that your company may not be ready to execute as a high performance organization:

  • You hear a lot of blame and finger-pointing when things don’t go according to plan.

  • Policy is adopted based on a singular view point instead of being developed as a team.

  • Unethical behavior is justified as being how “business” is done.

  • Passive aggressive behavior and office politicking is the norm.

  • People are afraid to speak up when there’s a problem or errors are found.

  • Leaders are not willing to make changes but expect their reports to change.

  • People are running from fire to fire and have little time to stop and think or develop new skills for the future.

  • Compensation is not tied to meaningful performance or is arbitrary.

Here’s what an execution ready culture looks like:

  • Core Strategy in place and communicated: The key elements of your core strategy have a tremendous impact on your organization’s culture and how tactics are executed in the field. Think carefully and critically about the company’s mission, values, and long-term goals. Companies that define and align their strategy and tactics are intentional about using and communicating the strategy to empower the team to make tactical decisions and run the company in a way that supports the strategy and mission.

  • Make hard decisions: To have an execution-ready culture, you have to be willing to release poor performers, and you have to be willing to let go of people who do not adhere to your values, even if they are top performers. You have to commit to both values and results and be willing to make tough calls and have difficult conversations.

  • Cultivate communication error culture (LINK) and encourage collaboration: Leaders have to model the behaviors they want to see, and they have to show that it is OK to take risks and make mistakes. The culture must create the opportunity for people to raise a hand when they need help, and have processes in place to ensure teams can collaborate and coach each other when help is needed.

  • Fosters accountability: The team has to know that they own their own results. They need to be clear about what’s expected of them and have the skills, training, and resources available to achieve success, or have those resources accessible to them. Again, they need to know that it is OK to ask for help when needed, understand and take responsibility for the consequences of not achieving their goals.

  • Change Management: Strategic execution requires teams to learn to change and adapt. To cultivate a culture that embraces change, managing the human reaction to change can’t be an afterthought. You need to consider how the changes you are making will impact people, both emotionally and psychologically, and have a strategy for communication and adoption of new processes, habits, systems, and goals, creating feedback loops so team members feel both seen and heard.

  • Provide feedback loops: Relying on past performance reviews are at a disadvantage when it comes to strong execution. To be agile and make performance adjustments in real time, you need continuous feedback loops. People should always know where they stand related to their most important goals and outcomes.

  • Make results visible: Transparent results are a key component of success. Having dashboards where everyone can see the goals and the progress towards those goals helps teams keep each other accountable to getting it done and helps identify who needs help with what. If your team is afraid to share their goals and their status on those goals, you have more work to do on creating safety in your culture.

After you have the fundamentals in place, you’ll be ready to layer on effective habits, annual and quarterly planning, weekly adjustment meetings, daily huddles to get the work done. The work of building an execution-ready culture isn’t linear, though. It’s an iterative process.

Tackling interpersonal issues and getting some of the negativity and resistance out of your culture can be an important first step, but also something you should expect to do often. Getting the right execution habits down will help strengthen your culture.

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