10 Tactics to Drive Maniacal Execution

How Jeremy Andrus, CEO of Traeger Pellet Grills, Drives Maniacal Execution with His Team

Today, I heard Jeremy Andrus, CEO of Traeger Pellet Grills, give the opening keynote at Grow's Data Driven Summit in Park City, Utah. His keynote was inspiring as he discussed the strategies and tactics he uses to drive maniacal execution with his team. 

Meeting Jeremy

Almost ten years ago, I first met Jeremy at the Skull Candy HQ in Park City, Utah where he was the current President. We met for an hour-long mentoring session. He gave me some great advice I have remembered throughout the years. He said, "You always need to follow what you're passionate about. If you can work toward something your passionate about, you can really make an impact in business and life. Find something you're passionate about and strive to become great in that passion with the right skills and experience." This advice has had a huge influence on my life and is why I've been following my passion for marketing and entrepreneurship over the past 12 years.

Find something you’re passionate about and strive to become great in that passion with the right skills and experience.
— Jeremy Andrus

Traeger Pellet Grills

Jeremy helped Skull Candy grow from 1 million to an IPO of 550 million and annual sales of 300 million. And Jeremy is now doing that same thing with Traeger Pellet Grills, where his leadership has helped position the company into the next stratosphere. Traeger grills is becoming the household name in wood fired grills.  

10 Tactics to Drive Maniacal Execution

Today he discussed how he has succeeds in business buy utilizing 10 tactics to drive maniacal execution. He asked us if we knew what maniacal meant. Then he clearly defined it for us. The world maniacal means exhibiting or denoting obsessive enthusiasm. He said that obsessive enthusiasm for execution has been the difference maker for Traeger Grills and his team.

Let me dive into what I learned as Jeremy discussed the tactics he uses to drive strong execution.

Jeremy starts with a strong focus on vision, people, and culture. He said that building culture value will build business outcomes. Successful execution starts with these three principles: alignment to vision, initiatives to plan, and accountability to plan.

Building culture value builds business value.
— Jeremy Andrus

Jeremy also outlined 10 tactics to help drive powerful and impactful execution. I have summarized them below.

1.  Predictable Top Down and Bottoms Up Communication Alignment and Trust

He discussed how a consistent and aligned company communication strategy from top down and bottoms up is critical to driving powerful execution. He reminded the room that as executives we forget that others don't know what we know. So Jeremy creates an operating cadence of team communication touch points.

He accomplishes this with a few important Monday meetings. He starts each Monday with an entire company breakfast meeting where all 300+ employees from around the world tune in to review results, celebrate, and communicate. 

Here are his three key Monday meetings to drive a cadence around vision alignment and communcation:

1. Team Breakfast - Entire company
2. War Room Meeting - 4 key executives that brainstorm around four areas: risk, opportunity, people, and other
3. Director Level Meeting - 15 key leaders meet to discuss vision, initiatives and status, challenges, and other key communication points. These leaders make sure the right message or content goes to the right people.

Each meeting is very predictable and is highly templated to give structure and focus. 

2. Own the Bookends Monday and Friday

He discussed the importance of Monday and Fridays. I discussed above his focus on Mondays. Jeremy also brings the team together on Friday to discuss challenges, mistakes, and new actions based off of learnings. If you own the bookends, you'll drive very strong execution the rest of the week.

3. Accomplish the Most Important One Thing Every Day

Jeremy discussed how many times we get distracted very easily as we start our days. He said that the biggest execution mistake one can make is to come to the office and start doing email. It will drive you down the reactive work hole. To be awesome at execution - start each day with a clear understanding of the most important thing you can accomplish in the day to be successful. Then get it done. 

Don’t let email drive your day.
— Jeremy Andrus

4. Keep a Spreadsheet to Hold Yourself Accountable to Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Actions

Jeremy uses a simple spreadsheet that holds himself accountable to daily, weekly, and monthly actions he needs to do for himself and for the team. 

5. Connect Key Term Planning to Weekly Activity

Jeremy accomplishes this with his team by holding WBR (Weekly Business Reviews). 

Weekly Business Review Components

1. Management Dashboard - Helps to answer and clearly define what is driving the business.
2. 9 Box Strategy - Jeremy places all major initiatives into 9 boxes that clearly define the initiative, the owners, and the completion date. The team discusses these weekly during the business reviews.
3. Report Templates - Each team has report templates that they have built to clearly understand key drivers for each department. This helps everyone to be on the same page about progress and results.

6. Review the Org Chart and Scorecards Weekly

Review the org chart and understand your talent in the business. He said it's also important to create a weekly process to evaluate talent and give specific feedback that will help each person grow in a positive way. During his first year at Traeger he focused 75% of his time on the people. He wanted to make sure he had the right people in the right positions to win.

He challenged everyone in the room at the event to spend an hour a week to identify talent in your company and outside your company. He spends time meeting with the best people so he already has the relationship when he needs to bring a key member on his team. Currently he is managing a list of 50 key people he would like to meet.

7. Deep and Cultures Win...If You Have the Right People

He said that people follow good examples and people will follow bad examples. Make sure you have the right people for your culture.

*Here is a blog I wrote that might help you determine who is the right culture fit or not.

The Right People on the Team

Jeremy said once you have company alignment of your vision, strategies, and initiatives—get out of the way. Let your team develop what they think are the right ways to get the work done. He said very clearly, "Communication is not micro management and accountability is not micro management. Micro management is looking over someones shoulder and telling them how to do the work. This will kill the culture and strong execution. Get out of the way."

8. Peer Recognizing Peers Crushes Management Awards and Drive Execution Improvements

Peers recognizing peers will do more for your culture than any other thing. Helping your team look for ways to recognize the efforts and success of others will drive the type of execution that brings the team together.

9. Data Driven Cultures Control their Destiny as Opposed to Reporting News

He discussed how using Grow dashboards has helped his team stay accountable to key business drivers and stay focused on the initiatives that improve the key metrics that drive positive results and growth. They run most of their meetings using data driven dashboards.

10. Personal Routines Allow for Professional Energy and Productivity

Jeremy said that a key to his success has been developing a personal morning routine that he does before he goes into work. His personal routine includes yoga, exercise, and family time. He accomplishes his routine before he goes to work. This helps him make the right choices to start his day in a very positive direction. 

Jeremy's keynote was awesome and he provided some awesome advice to help drive positive and powerful execution. I love to capture, digest, write, and archive some of my favorite business and leadership principles on this blog. Jeremy, thanks for the killer presentation and taking time to share your wisdom to the world! Really appreciated my friend!

Learn More About Burke