Planning for execution

In structuring execution we run into a dilemma.

  1. We need to structure a team that can execute all required tasks of turning the plan into value as soon as possible at lowest possible cost.
  2. On the one hand we need to keep the team small and flexible with short communication lines and maximum unity of interest and responsibility.
  3. On the other hand we need to make sure that all required skills and know how is available within the team. That calls for functional allocation of tasks and responsibilities, which triggers the need for intensive cooperation and communication within the team.

Usually top management deals with this dilemma half hardily. Every individual gets some individual accountability, but his contribution to the end-result is hard to measure and his KPIs are usually in conflict with the common goal, because he is primarily measured on his performance within his area of responsibility. This introduces internal friction within teams and it complicates control and negatively impacts effectiveness and efficiency of strategy implementation.

Therefore we know from experience that some prerequisites are crucial to make a team effective:

1. There are no joint-responsibilities. If two individuals are mutually responsible neither of them will take the responsibility when it is truly necessary. Therefore make sure that all accountability can be related to a specific individual. 

2. Key performance indicators should measure the individual contribution to the group-objective. If a job-description does not provide the information to define these indicators; the job-description is not good enough.

3. Allocate minimized time and budget to each individual task and aggregate all financial and time buffers to the individual who manages the project as a whole. This ensures the flexibility to adjust the plan in accordance with reality.  


Yohyon van Zantwijk