Getting Things Done

Personal accountability for results. Without it, there can be great strategies, great people and great operations but no reliable means of execution.

By Dean Horowitz, Publisher | August 31, 2002


Dean Horowitz, Publisher

Personal accountability for results. Without it, there can be great strategies, great people and great operations but no reliable means of execution. Professional Builder's 2002 Benchmark conference, Oct. 12-16 in Boston, will explore this topic in home building in a way that will enhance your business's performance like nothing before it.

Relevant? To each and every one of us. Most business leaders are in their position because of their strategic and conceptual abilities, not for their ability to manage the details of getting things done. Those details are left for others who are trusted and entrusted with the matter of execution.

So many companies are set up so ideas flow down to a subordinate who hands off responsibility to another person and so on and so on and so on. This is great for placing blame when results don't happen, but it kills the business. What always needs to occur is an idea flow that goes up, down and sideways as a means to get things done.

Which activities are required in the discipline of getting things done is a fundamental issue in business and the reason we selected best-selling author and CEO adviser Ram Charan as Benchmark's keynote speaker.

His appearance is a direct outgrowth of the Reed Residential Group's team reading assignment Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, written by Ram and Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell International Inc. We made it one of our group's reading assignments because of the realization that our shared commitment to doing great work wasn't always enough.

We had learned from the book Leadership Ensemble how to establish "cores" that enable us to create great work without the need for "command/control" leadership. However, the key to all business is in the ultimate execution. Execution is about that.

Lots of new Benchmark segments will dig into the business of home building and offer proven means to improve it. A few of the presenters are past Benchmark attendees who have taken two or three action points from previous conferences and enhanced the performance of their business. They are Benchmark zealots who want to share ideas with their peers.

This year's program has a very cool segment called "Remaking Your Supply Chain: Creating Profitable Supplier Partnerships." It will examine first cost versus total cost, with the idea that attendees will learn how to create the relationships that improve profits and productivity. This magazine has spent a fair amount of time on this topic, and it will be interesting to explore it in an interactive setting. Without profitable supplier relationships, it is impossible to get things done.

Our fun day out, a Benchmark tradition, will occur at a new development in Plymouth, Mass. The Pinehills offers golf and other recreation, a great testimonial for high-performance customer satisfaction, and evening fun that will be as memorable as at past events.

The Benchmark end-note will be "People, Performance & Process: Putting All the Pieces Together." This segment will focus on winning ideas that demonstrate how you can use the best assets in your company -- your people and the way they do their jobs -- to create a more productive organization, more satisfied customers and a better bottom line. Execution, again.

I hope you can join us this year. My wife asks of new friends, "If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would it be and why?" Benchmark is a dinner party that lasts a few days. It's full of interested and committed people, and in the end you wish it would continue.


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