Commitment making is the foundation for building an authentic performance culture. Here is an interview that gives a brief overview of how we use commitment-making in our project execution.
Two themes in how I approach professional life in the dimensions of Clarity of Purpose and Commitment. On this page, I discuss my thoughts on ‘Clarity of Purpose.’
Clarity of Purpose
Execution is more important than strategy. Strategy ideas are out there for the finding. Indeed, the noise around strategic thinking is overwhelming. You get started in one direction and next thing you know someone or something is advising you of the better New Thing you should be doing. So, for me, the trump card that drives value is to identify the One Thing that customers care about that you can do best, and then relentlessly organize around that.
When you do that well, you discover the world of details that matter and you master them so the Your Way becomes second nature. When you do it with clarity of purpose, you evolve from ‘flavor of the day’ to a unique, rarified French sauce. The serving you worried might be too small becomes a world of rich opportunity. It is amazing how much opportunity lies directly before us if we slow down our gaze. Organizations need the rudder of Clarity of Purpose to avoid flitting from one thing to another.
This is the perspective I bring to my work whether it is marketing-, execution- or IT-related. I look for the Clarity of Purpose and organize to cut through the noise. The opportunities get bigger and bigger as our world seems less and less able to focus deeply.
A Place to Make and Honor Commitments
I am lucky to work at Geneca. It is a rare consulting firm that invests more energy in figuring out how to ensure client success than maximizing its billings. Geneca has absolutely unreasonable hiring standards and thus we are always starved for talented people who understand teamwork and what it is to work in a commitment-based company. The flip side is that Geneca has the most talented group of software consulting people I’ve been around.
My role is to ensure that the people who do the client work have what they need to succeed and focus their energies on client success. In addition, I do my best to contribute to the ongoing development of commitment principles I co-authored with Bob Zimmerman in 2002. My current focus is on deepening our understanding and execution of what it means to be a Commitment-based company.
Raising the Bar for In-home Sales
I consulted with Luna Carpet in 2006 and then joined as its CIO. I assumed the additional title of COO in 2007 assuming oversight of sales and customer service. It was my first experience with a B2C company in a leadership role. We accomplished a whole lot while I was there and I thank Morrie and Steve DeZara for the opportunity to contribute to a big change in how the state-of-the-art of that business was conducted. Luna won the Chicago Tribune ‘Best Workplaces’ award for 2010 which was a terrific accomplishment for a company in that industry as well.
I played a key role in bringing to life Steve’s idea for an in-home tablet-based selling tool. This is years before the ipad was in the picture. Together he, I and the IT team delivered Luna’s ‘SureQuote Technology‘ which proved to be a difference maker for Luna and a breakthrough in the field of in-home sales. We also brought analytics to the assignment of inbound leads which had a substantial impact on profitability. During my time there, we opened Luna’s first expansion market in Baltimore and exceeded expectations in that market by a wide margin. After I left, Luna continue to open new markets and the success of the expansion plan ‘encouraged’ arch-competitor ‘Empire Today’ to finally just buy out Luna at the end of 2011 and remove the persistent thorn in its side after many years of competition.