You Need a Common Language to Execute and Sustain Gains

You Need a Common Language to Execute and Sustain Gains

By: Jim Gitney   |     August 23, 2014

Business-Hierarchy-of-Needs-2016-with-levelsUnderstanding and being understood are among the most basic needs of all people. The same is true for businesses wishing to execute well, adapt to change, and effectively execute the company’s strategy. A common business language aligns a company’s operating organization and connects it with senior leaders and other key stakeholders. Further, a common, performance-based language helps avoid communication misfires that disable execution. Establishing a common business language for your business starts with your business strategy, the source for high-level business goals and objectives. Goals become the targets for regions, functions and associated key performance indicators (“KPI’s”). KPI’s are the operating vital signs of successful businesses and key parts of their language. For example:

  • Finance/Accounting key performance metrics include net income and EBITDA, working capital, receivables, etc.
  • For Sales/Marketing, KPI’s relate to growth, new products sales, market share, etc.
  • Operations scorecards track safety and environmental compliance, cost, quality, service, productivity, asset management, etc.

Progressive companies reinforce KPI-based language in their performance management processes, emphasizing this area as integral to strategy instead of just a tactical compliance concern. Market leaders ensure that appropriate goals are shared among stakeholder functions, getting everyone on the same page, speaking a common language throughout the three levels of the Business Hierarchy of Needs®. KPI’s for a business will vary based upon its strategy, industry, business life cycle and business needs. However, the benefits of establishing, tracking and continuously communicating KPI’s as part of the unifying language of a business are fourfold:

    • Helps local employees understand the overall business and how their performance ties to company strategy and results. This understanding motivates employees and enables their professional growth.
    • Aligns functional stakeholders, encouraging accountability and cross-functional collaboration. Stakeholders include vendors, employees, contractors and customers.
    • Links the CEO and leadership into the business’ operating performance, helping the company to be more nimble and opportunistic.
    • Also encourages banks and boards to speak the language of the business, enabling them to more effectively support the company and its strategy.

In the end, it is important that every company develops a common language that is uniquely its own and every organization has a dialect that is focused on developing a culture of Strategic ExecutionTM



We can help. Group50® Consulting offers organizational development and strategic execution services that can cater to your specific business, from targeted process assessments to a Lean Business Physical. Our assessments identify the unique opportunities for your organization and our workshops, systems, and training will bring focus to your priority areas.  If you want to learn more about how the Business Hierarchy of Needs® and Group50’s other tools and methodologies can help your team develop a common language drop us a line at, call us at (909) 949-9083 or request more information here.

This entry was posted in Continuous Improvement, Organizational Development, Strategic Execution, Weekend Thought, on August 23, 2014

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