Driving Results is an executive competency SOLID has identified as critical to executive success. It is considered an Execution competency within our 5-category executive competency model, which is explained and downloadable at the end of this article. Overall, executives are responsible for, and must be competent at:
The last executive competency we covered was Driving Action, which is primarily defined as having a bias towards action and to quickly make things happen, driving the actions of others and themselves with specific, realistic, measurable, time bound, and mission-aligned goals.
The Driving Results competency is about achieving intended results from actions the executive is driving. It is end result of the Driving Action competency. Action for the sake of action is worthless. Action that produces desired results is essential.
It is obvious that an executive’s job is to get things done. However, Driving Action simply for the sake of action, and obtaining sub-optimal results, can be as bad or worse than not taking any action at all. An executive, by definition, knows how to get results, and in the final analysis, results are how the executive is measured. Driving Results is one of the most visible proofs of executive competency and is what gives those the right to be called an executive.
Shark Tank investor and billionaire Mark Cuban says, “The one requirement for success in our business lives is effort. Either you make the commitment to get results, or you don’t.” A commitment to get results motivates the executive, and if they fail to Drive Results, they often get fired.
Executives competent at Driving Results are able to focus on important information, make quick decisions, drive right action, hold others accountable, and take personal responsibility to create results. They do this by increasing intensity, drive and urgency to take right actions that generate positive outcomes.
INCREASING INTENSITY TOWARDS DRIVING RESULTS
Executives are expected to enter situations and/or organizations and increase the intensity for achieving results. They are there to rachet up passion and drive. It is critical for an executive to create a sense of urgency while artfully managing a myriad of often conflicting priorities. In order to better Drive Results, it requires getting the employee base focused and motivated on it as well. Executives are not only accountable for their own actions (and results) but are accountable for the results produced by their team. Therefore, great executives are adept at Driving Results through their team and are skilled at holding them consistently accountable for doing so.
DEVELOPING STRATEGIES TO BETTER HIT NUMBERS
Driving Results is not about using brute force. There is a finesse to this process that makes it as much of an art as it is a science. It’s also about having a strategy. An executive must have certain strategies in place to hit the numbers by which they are measured. Almost everything in business comes down to metrics. Even in HR, which is all about people, there are still metrics, such as quantifying employee engagement, recruitment statistics, on-boarding success and turnover rates, to name just a few. With customers we measure NetPromoter scores, and with sales, we track revenue goals. Finance measures gross revenue, profit, net operating income, gross profit and more. It is the executive’s role to develop strategies towards better hitting numbers. Those who can, get to stay and play another day. Those who can’t, find employment elsewhere.
Executives with high competency in Driving Results understand numbers and what they mean, and they know how to direct action to create improved results. Coming up with action items that don’t go anywhere are useless. There must be strategy that drives results from their current state to an improved state, and effective executives know how to do this. They don’t simply watch trends – they create them with future positive momentum.
Founder of the Toyota Production System, which later led to Lean Methodology, Taiichi Ohno said, “Progress cannot be generated when we are satisfied with existing situations.” High achievers challenge status quo and Drive Results in doing so. By watching metrics, taking quick, right actions, and holding themselves and others accountable, they drive results. Understanding what the organization needs through metrics, having strategies to achieve them, and a sense of urgency, Drives Results.
Executives must be internally driven, self-starters, and self-motivators. By the time they have been given their title, it is assumed they do not require someone watching them over their shoulder in order to drive themselves and others. In fact, a top marker of a top executive is self-drive, as well as being self-critical, which leads us to the next point.
INCREASING STANDARDS FOR ACHIEVEMENT
Increasing standards for achievement means executives are constantly raising the bar for more achievement and better results. Constant, never ending improvement is their mantra. The executive with high competency in Driving Results has high standards for peak performance. They are not comfortable with the status quo, and if they are, they don’t last.
Executives must look at their organization as though it is a race – against themselves, the market, their competitors, and the future. They must strive for CANI (Constant Never-Ending Improvement)- more profit, more efficiency, more harmony, faster on-boarding, less defects, increased safety – you name it. They do this by creating KPI’s, monitoring metrics and constantly adjusting to improve. Bottom line, executives exist to Drive Results, and embracing CANI is one of the primary ways they do that.
Why Does this Competency Matter?
Driving Results is one of the primary requirements of an executive. Without results, there is a lot of useless action. Executives who are merely spinning wheels won’t last long. Metrics become the evidence of the executive’s competency or incompetency. Executives with high competency in Driving Results have mastered the ability to intensify drive, hit numbers, and increase standards for achievement for themselves and their team. They drive continual improvement, create a sense of urgency, and hold themselves and others accountable for results.
Discovering this Strength
To discover this strength, the executive needs to look at their own internal motivation and drive, and the strategies they have created to increase their intensity, drive performance, develop accountability and constantly improve (CANI). They may ask themselves the following questions:
- To what degree am I driven to achievement? (Very Low; Low, Moderate, High, Very High)
- Do I have strategies to create urgency to lead my team to drive results?
- How effective am I at understanding KPI’s and driving action towards success?
- How effective am I at holding myself accountable?
- How effective am I at holding my team accountable for their results?
Assessing executive competencies allows the executive to make adjustments where needed. Every executive has strengths and weaknesses. They also have blind spots. To assess your executive competencies, click here. To try to remove blind spots, click here.
Our Competency Model
The SOLID Competency Model is based on two decades of research. It is founded on the premise that all executive competencies can be categorized into these five groupings: Core Character, Execution, Relationship, Management and Leadership. Executives must master all five categories to achieve excellence in their roles. This model is useful for gauging and quantifying your skill set, understanding what it takes to be an effective executive, and providing a framework for improving performance. For more information, download “Executive Competencies: What It Takes to Be an Executive.”
Looking constructively at yourself isn’t easy but doing so provides the catalyst for transformational change. Having a balanced, objective look at your skill set and a willingness to be self-critical for the sake of continuous improvement is a major marker of a top executive. Take the next step and download “Eliminate Executive Blind Spots” to explore your strengths and weaknesses, and remove any blind spots you may have.