Keith Giddens is MMIT’s Chief Performance Officer. He is responsible for helping teams execute on their goals, such as data quality and process improvement. This includes meeting with departments and teams on a weekly basis to help employees develop strategies to meet their goals, and promoting accountability for deliverables that push progress forward. Giddens works with many employees within MMIT, from C-Suite executives to those responsible for executing on larger goals.
How did your background bring you to MMIT?
I traveled around the world, working with companies on helping them execute strategic goals. I did that as a consultant with a global firm. We designed and implemented execution plans in multiple industries. I worked with the Carnival Cruise Lines and I also built out the European Hilton Hotel Execution plan. I worked with CEO Mike Gallup on a 2-year project and Iater joined him at MMIT.
What does your day to day look like?
Every day I meet with teams and their leaders, and we look at their execution on their goals. With some of our teams, I’m in the process of helping them build their goals out. We design plans, implement them, coach our teams — everything our people need to execute on their goals.
And when you came on, were there already existing projects you had to work on, or were these processes brand new?
There were things already going on within the company. I was brought in to look and say, ‘What is it that we need to go after?’ And then, ‘How do we get there in an execution framework?’ We’ve got a big project for the 2021 strategic goals and initiatives that I’m heavily involved in now, and I’m working with all of our leaders on setting those up.
Can you talk about a project you’re currently working on?
One of our biggest initiatives is to improve the quality of the data that our clients use. When you get into the technology teams, they have individual initiatives that they’re working on that help to improve the data. I come and help them deconstruct the initiative, break it down, ask who the contributors on the team are and what teams are involved, and then we design and implement the execution plan.
You’ve worked in a wide variety of industries. How has that applied at MMIT?
I’m not an expert in the cruise line industry, or the hotel industry or the banking industry. My expertise is putting in a framework to execute on big goals. I begin by asking a lot of questions, including what the most strategic goals are, and then I help narrow the focus. At a lot of organizations, they’ll have multiple goals. And they don’t get anything done, because there’s too much going on. I help them through what individuals can do differently on a daily basis. But it’s not me coming in and saying, ‘Okay, in order for you to reach this deliverable every month, this is what you need to do.’ No, they know what they need to do, or they’ll come up with it. We’ll set up a weekly cadence of accountability, where they’re on a call, and they’re looking at the scoreboard, and they’re asking themselves, ‘Are we doing what we said we would do?’
That buy-in from individuals sounds crucial to making progress.
When you think about the overall goal of the organization, the decision lives in the corner offices — they have the ability to decide the organizational goal. But when you start to deconstruct down to functional groups, departments, divisions, teams — those individuals need to figure out how their contributions help meet that goal. And when they do that, they own it.
What has been one of your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge, without fail, is what we call ‘whirlwind’, the day job. People are very busy. They’re not incompetent, they’re just busy. So what ends up happening in those weekly meetings is someone says, ‘Oh, I couldn’t get to this because I’m so busy.’ That’s why we have this cadence of accountability. If I know that I’m going to walk into an accountability meeting every Tuesday at 10 a.m., and I’ve got to report what I said I would do, and then report on what I’m going to do later, I’m more inclined to do it.
What would you say is the most exciting part of the job?
The most exciting part of the job is when a team can actually see the connection between their commitment to what they said that they’d do, and to the actual goals that they set for themselves. That’s very motivating.
What do you like about your job?
The people. I just like interacting with people. There are all kinds of people. And there are team dynamics where certain teams are very cohesive, and other teams, not so much. Working with leadership to help them see how they can help their team members, I like doing that.
What does MMIT do, in your own words?
We’re trying to smooth access to therapies. It really is the whole purpose of the business. As we improve our data, it will smooth access to therapies, and as we get better at our technology, it will smooth access to therapies. That’s the ‘why’ behind MMIT.
Where do you think MMIT will be a year from now?
MMIT is going to continue to improve and grow. We’ve got our new CEO Mike Gallup, who has built a leadership team that is very deep and experienced. I think in 2021, you’re going to see us getting better in terms of timeliness and accuracy. We’re going to grow, meaning we’ll have more customers and we’ll have more of the market.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I have a large family, and that’s my free time, really. I have four children that are all married, and I have 10 grandchildren with the 11th on the way. I have some land, and five of my grandchildren live on my property and four live in the area. So every single day, I see grandchildren. We have built anything that a kid desires on that land: zip lines, swings, trampolines, trails, biking, I’ve got a little waterfall, anything that they want to play in. That’s where we spend our time.