OpenView Labs has put on several “Extraordinary Execution Workshops” with our portfolio company management teams (example agenda here). The basic idea is that a company must first have aspirations (mission, vision, values), then set and execute on cascading SMART goals (annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily) that are targeted at the aspirations. One of the goals that we recommend is training employees on the aspirations and then reinforcing the training with various supporting mechanisms (awards, reinforcing examples of great behaviors by pointing them out, ongoing reminders, etc.).
Patricia Jackson has a great blog on what happens when part of the aspirations are on the topic of the customer experience and the company executes on them well. She cites Zappos (one of my favorite examples), Disney, and the Ritz Carlton as great examples and the idea applies to all companies.
The interesting point in Patricia’s piece is that the “culture” is right at the companies so that the staff knows what to do and self-organizes to do it. The culture is dramatically enhanced through management actions that state and reinforce the aspirations regularly so that they are baked into the culture over time. These principals create a great customer experience, great competitive positioning that is difficult to match, great products, and fired up management teams and people working at the company that make it a fun place to work.
note: thanks to Kelly Roy for pointing me to Patricia’s post.