3 Simple & Fast Rituals to Level Up Any Team’s Execution
A well-crafted strategy is nothing without a unified team to execute it.
In fact, leaders often lose 40% of their strategy’s value to breakdowns in their team’s execution. Why is it that a team can struggle to unify their execution even if a great strategic plan has been created? One of the main reasons is because there isn’t a regular review of teams’s execution journeys.
To achieve enduring growth, teams need to drive for cohesive and unified execution every week. This can be done through three simple and rapid weekly execution rituals. The first ritual celebrates success, then the second identifies opportunities for improvement, and then the last ritual drives accountability to focus for the upcoming week. The combination of all of these rituals help create transparent meetings that bolster a team's unified execution. And the challenge is to run it in under 7 minutes!
By sticking to these three execution rituals, your team will build a ‘muscle memory’. Given its simplicity, soon the rituals will come naturally each week and lead to incremental improvements. This adaptive and unified execution builds confidence, without micromanagement!
But what exactly is an execution ritual, anyway?
What is a Weekly Execution Ritual?
“It’s a weekly pulse on your team’s execution. You celebrate what was achieved in the past week, identify points of improvement, and focus on what’s next.” - Joe McMahan, Customer Lead at Uniply
Rituals are for celebrating past execution, and then unifying your team on what they are going to do next!
Imagine a typical weekly standup meeting. Everyone has their updates, questions, ideas, and a million other things to discuss. It’s nice to get everyone together – but the meeting often fails to empower the team’s unified execution. By adopting the three weekly rituals we explain below, you can provide an executional focus to what needs to be discussed in meetings like these, especially to drive a unified execution.
Empowering everyone has never been easier with this metaphorical finger on a team’s executional heartbeat.
Ritual #1: Celebrate Executional Success
To instill confidence, the first ritual highlights success.
It’s because the first step to leveling up a team’s execution is to focus on what went well. Celebrating execution wins (no matter how big or small) each week as a team is crucial — it provides everyone with a sense of progress and accomplishment right off the bat.
This unifying exercise energizes your team to execute at a better pace and with more confidence. It helps a team come together and answer the question, “What have we learned?”
With these successes praised and acknowledged, teams can then turn to the areas that need the most attention.
Ritual #2: Identify Areas of Improvement
For every team meeting, discovering what is falling behind is a key aspect to improving your team’s execution. To start this ritual, organize every Asset (Customer, Market, Campaign, Employee, Partner, etc.) into one of these color-coded categories:
- Green (on track)
- Yellow (at risk)
- Red (needs attention)
This execution ritual helps teams locate their execution gaps and what they can do to improve their journeys. Remember here that we are pursuing to make the most important things easy. Clearly identifying where to improve will help make the most critical journeys in your business easy to execute.
It’s all about focusing on incremental improvements for each journey in the red. A 2% executional improvement each week adds up to a huge difference in just one year.
This ritual is not focused on how one person’s execution can improve, but where everyone’s execution can improve. It’s asking, “How can this team enable everyone to execute better?” and then maintaining accountability to the answer.
Ritual #3: Drive Accountability
While execution is the key to success, keeping everyone accountable for their execution is just as important. That’s why this third ritual is all about driving accountability.
How can team members check in on everyone’s weekly journeys without micromanaging? The answer lies in focusing on the horizon and how this current week’s execution is aligning with the overall strategy.
In a recent Strategy& global survey, 700 business executives were asked to rate their company in terms of their skill at strategy AND execution. Only 8% were credited as being highly effective at both.
The term “strategy execution” has been gradually increasing in recent years.
Strategy is not execution. A team must uphold accountability to help everyone know their role when successfully executing. As this can change week to week (or even day to day), it’s important to keep accountability top of mind.
A team can try incorporating these execution rituals into things they already do to save time and micro-empower everyone:
- Ensure everyone’s execution is forced outside of a silo.
- Avoid long lists of priorities (or lists at all).
- Refrain from turning these weekly rituals into daily rituals.
Additionally, teams need to make the meeting space safe to say what wasn’t achieved that week. Make the third ritual a place for failure, for burn out, for communication. Identifying successes and defeats creates transparency, which is vital to scale.
Execution Rituals Create Team Alignment & Drive Transparent Meetings
Cohesive execution is all about confidence. Uncertainty and ambiguity cause your team to slam on their executional brakes. If a team is unsure what they need to bring to a meeting or what will be discussed, they can’t prepare.
Sticking to execution rituals eliminates that ambiguity. They foster unified execution each week because the rituals involve other teammates, and thus needs input from everyone.
Agendas that amplify the best execution rituals out of your team
Agendas are a great way to catch everyone up to speed on what will be discussed. When you combine agendas and the above weekly rituals, meetings become a powerhouse for execution.
We included a sample of one of our weekly agendas for reference. You can see how the weekly execution rituals only take ten minutes of the entire meeting. They are used to facilitate, not drag down, execution!
Sample of a Uniply Weekly Agenda With on Execution Rituals
For a startup, meetings should be a source of executional power, not a bottleneck. Meetings have increased in length and regularity over the past few decades, to the point where team leaders can spend an average of 23 hours a week in meetings.
With execution rituals functioning as a highlight of weekly meetings, those hours can be shortened and made even more valuable.
Encourage Confident Execution with Weekly Rituals!
When our team at Uniply talks about execution rituals, we like to reference this analogy of the 2%:
“If a team improves 2% of its execution capability every week, it’s a compound effect – the quality of your execution will triple over just one year!”
Remember that a team might not start with a 2% improvement every week. Refining those rituals takes a few round of team huddles, each one is unique to the team and their journeys. To build a unified and confident team, however, is worth the effort.
How can teams get into the habit of forming cohesive and unified execution rituals? One solution is by using a Unified Execution Platform. It allows teams to celebrate their wins, focus on what’s next, establish accountability, and ensure transparency every week, every day, and every huddle.
Get started with a free trial of Uniply today to see how it works!