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5 Ways to Become a Chief EXECUTION Officer

By November 14, 2016No Comments

Chief Execution OfficerWe are in an exciting time of disruptive change. Now more than ever before, human resource professionals lead the way with a need for exceptional service within organizations and fulfilling important roles that benefit everyone. As HR leaders, we know we don’t have time to do everything, we only time to do what matters.

What matters most to your organization? What matters to your employees?

To continue offering exceptional support to our business, serving our organization and focusing on strategy, we need a constant mindset of execution.  It’s easy to be busy; busy is not productive. We can no longer abide by the rules of time management. The old way of managing time doesn’t work. We must begin paying attention to what matters most.

In order to best serve our thriving and changing organizations, we need to be the CEO:                     Chief EXECUTION Officer.

Productivity requires implementation and execution.

The word execute means to ‘carry out or to perform’ and it derives from Latin exsequi, “carry out, follow up; punish.”  As HR professionals, we need build teams with strong reputations for execution, follow up and productivity.

Here are 5 strategies to accelerate productivity and build a reputation as the leader who executes:

15-minute rule:

Change the way you view time. Instead of thinking in 30 and 60-minute increments, reduce the time to 15 minutes.

Consider focusing on completing actions in 15 minutes: i.e. respond to emails, host a 1:1 with one of your leaders, complete a business calls, or reach out into your organization about potential partnerships.

People feel they don’t have an hour anymore; the key is to take action in 15-minute increments.  Can you encourage your team to begin approaching projects, meetings and completion in 15-minutes?  Encourage all meetings to be conducted in 15-minute increments. Suggest supervisors invest 15 minutes each week in additional training for the team to explore professional development opportunities.

What can you achieve in 15 minutes that will get you closer to the achievement of your organizational goals?

It’s the art of compressing time. Consider if you have 2 weeks to make a decision, how long does it take you? 2 weeks right.  If you have 2 minutes to make a decision, it takes you 2 minutes… can we compress activities into 15-minute increments?


Cancel meetings:

Yes you read this right! If you are holding meetings because you have the same meeting week after week, consider changing routine! Unless you have a strong agenda and a reason to invest everyone’s time, cancel the meeting. If you can’t cancel, consider reducing the meeting time by half. Complete an experiment, for your next meeting halve the time and encourage the team to stick to the agenda closely.  Meetings are an important part of every organization however invest time this month to determine if all the meeting you are hosting are operating effectively, is an agenda being followed, are actions being agreed and implemented as a result of the meetings. Are we moving the organization forward?


Pay attention: 

One of the greatest gifts you can give your team is your undivided attention. As busy HR professionals, it is easy to frustrate the team if you are constantly distracted by meetings, email and not focused on conversations. Distraction is perceived as disrespectful. Investing your attention, looking employees, colleagues, leaders and peers in the eye when you communicate will achieve more. Put down your smartphone and encourage your team to do the same.


Choose three strategies: 

Focus your attention on your top three deliverables.  Your to-do list is always growing and your email keeps coming. If we just focused on activities we wouldn’t be productive, we’d just be busy. True leaders know they need to prioritize on the highest impact objectives. Three is the magic number and allows people to retain focus.  Make sure your strategies are repeatable (others can share them throughout the organization), relatable (others understand how it affects them) and recognizable (others can see the impact of those strategies). As a leader your role is to focus on strategies you can execute!



Take regular breaks from technology, remove yourself from your email and the minutia that is draining your focus and energy. As the leader invest in the contextual deliverables, the big picture, the strategy – that’s it! Leave the details to those around you to execute.  Clarity and vision are often created when you step away from the everyday operations and allow yourself to brainstorm how we can do things differently; how we can continually disrupt the way we have always done things.

As human resources professionals, we must drive our organizations by focusing on the things that truly matter, that truly require execution. What can you do with your team this week to move the business forward?

To increase the productivity of your team, lead by example, and allow others to step into their brilliance by empowering them to execute the details of the strategies you create. Now that’s productive!

If you plan to attend #SHRMVLS this November, I’d like to know your biggest productivity challenge.

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