Building An Elite Organization

By: Don Wenner - Read: August 23, 2022 - Rating: 7/10

Great overview of the frameworks needed to build a high performing organization. Mostly focused on building out hiring pipelines and attracting talent, leading effectively and strategic planning, and effective execution at a team level.

The first half was great, then it got a bit repetitive toward the end. The books is especially useful for engineers and others who haven't been as exposed to the operational side of business.

My Notes

  • If you feel like you're the only/main person in the organization who's capable of getting things done to the level they need to be, then your organization is lacking on systems, structure, discipline, and accountability.
  • Discipline is giving up your short term wants for your long term achievement and fulfillment.
  • The Elite Execution System is composed of 4 quadrants: Strategy, People, Operations, and Acceleration.
  • Strategy: not just about coming up with good ideas, but being discipline about selecting the ideas that will be the best for growth/success.
  • People: need to attract, hire, develop and retain great people.
  • Operations: accountable for the success of everyone on the team/how you go about executing on a goal.
  • Acceleration: how to communicate via marketing and sales the value of your company/how your different, and delivering consistent growth
  • Finally, he talks about “Delivering Wow”

The elite compass

  • Define your core values
  • Always write down your goals, they cant just be in your head.
    • Write down vision, strategy, and direction
  • Define your purpose - something impactful/a mission that people can align on, and your mission - something more concrete that you're trying to do
  • Define your BHAG - it has to be something that everyone can relate to/contribute to. Then constantly refer to it in meetings, and measure progress of it. Then people feel like they're driving this metric.
  • Figure out your secret weapon - what makes your company better/win no matter what happens
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of your organization
  • Identify 10x opportunities, where if you executing on these, your growth could 10x in a year
  • Identify your brand promises that customers expect/use your brand for
  • What should customers think your organization the expert at?
  • Identify key revenue/growth drivers. What are the bottlenecks can be removed from these drivers?
  • Determine key metrics and numbers. Measure them. Assign accountability to one person for each.

Executing on your vision/defining periodic goals

  • 7-year goal (long-term) goal, should be very high and something to constantly work toward
  • 3-year goal (mid-term) goal, define with what your key metrics/BHAG/numbers will look like at this time, be specific so you have something to aim at
  • 1-year goal (short-term) goal, define what you will do this year. One overarching/unifying theme to work toward. Define what you want to hit with key metrics
    • For each area of Strategy, People, Operations, Acceleration, (Product) define your 5 key goals (SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely). These should be stretch goals that are hard to achieve.
    • Ask your self who could achieve these goals. Announce hiring for roles that you need - people won't be surprised. Internally, people can grow into these roles.
  • 90-day goal (quarterly) goal
    • Define the rocks/wildly important goals
    • Define the key metrics/numbers to hit
    • Define key meeting schedule
    • Define core processes
    • Plan out acceleration
  • Write your core strategy statement - capture your near term strategy/key metrics, what you're going to do, etc. Should be ambitious and inspire people.
  • Finally, you need to directly communicate this compass, goals, and strategy to your team.
    • Successful teams understand where the company is going, feel an emotional attachment to these goals, and clearly understand where they fit in to help achieve them.

Building an elite team

  • First, you need to define the right people for your company at the current time
    • Define the role - write them as a superhero
    • Define responsibilities: 8-16 per role
    • Define expectations (outcomes)
    • Define key numbers
  • Attracting interest from talent involves requires writing a good job ad - good title, description, benefits, etc. think what the elite talent would be attracted by.
  • Spending time on interviews is worth it. Author does recorded interviews and has a Google Drive for each prospect.
  • Ask them if they are pursuing other opportunities, ask in detail
  • Give the final offer face-to-face, and make it exciting. Show that you are excited to have them, and that this is an opportunity for them.
  • Have an onboarding process, or people can be setup for failure
  • You need to be genuinely invested in the growth/development of every employee. You need to care about their future, and show that they have a direct path to get to where they want to.