What separates the best from the rest?

I was out with a colleague yesterday and he asked me “What are the factors that separate the successful organizations from the rest?” I thought about it for a minute and replied with two key traits:

  • They are able to align their tactics with the strategy and direction of the organization
  • They foster a culture of innovation (I define innovation as making incremental improvements) and excellence

Aligning strategy and tactics mean that everyone in the organization not only knows the in which direction the organization wants to move, but also their specific role in helping the organization get there. Too many organizations focus on the completion of activities, not the achievement of results. And those activities are often not aligned with the future state the organization wants to achieve.

Fostering a culture of innovation and excellence means that employees come to work looking for ways to improve the way the organization operates and they make choices that add value to customers and business partners. Collaboration is key and so is ensuring that the metrics used to show success align with the culture the organization wants to maintain. Metrics often determine how people behave.

There are many other things that are important, but these are the two key things that make organizations consistently successful. On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate yourself in these two areas?


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