Escaping Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time allotted to it. That’s why meetings fill the time scheduled even when the content doesn’t require it.

The senior leader’s challenge with this goes beyond meetings has two dimensions: An organizational challenge and a personal challenge. Organizations have more available initiatives and projects than resources, so they must choose which ones to work on, and which to conscientiously ignore. That is a key part of formulating strategy and operating plans. And it is the senior leader who has the final responsibility of making the decision.

On the personal side, the senior leader always needs more time than is available, so the challenge is both choosing the right things to do and reducing the amount of time needed to do his/her own work. I’ve been successful in helping CEOs and presidents capture 1-2 hours per day to focus more on strategy, spend more time with key customers, or improve their work-life balance. The key is discipline, routines, and developing a capable and efficient organization.

Parkinson’s Law is not universal. You do not have to be bound by it.

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family. .
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

 

When Self-Improvement Really Begins

I work with CEOs, presidents, and high-level executives to improve their effectiveness. While I have made exceptions, as a rule I won’t take a client who is referred to me for remedial coaching or “last chance” coaching. The reason is simple: The odds of a person making progress are slim or none if he/she doesn’t want to improve, doesn’t see the need and is unwilling to accept objective feedback.

I recently spoke to a group of about a dozen employees in a corporation on increasing personal effectiveness in their various roles. I asked each person in the group to assess eight of their personal skills and abilities are on a scale of 1 (very weak, lots of room to improve) to 10 (outstanding, can’t get much better.) Normally, individuals in groups like this will rate themselves from 4 to 8 on most items. In this group, they all scored themselves from 8 to 10 on every item. What it told me was that either the culture did not allow them to be honest in their assessments, or that they simply are not honest with themselves. If you believe that you are a 9 or a 10 in communication (as an example,) then you’re not being objective. Everyone can improve communication skills.

The first step in self-improvement is to see the need or opportunity to improve. That’s the beginning point. It doesn’t matter if others say improvement is needed; unless the individual sees the need, it’s a non-starter.

P.S. Getting to 9 or 10 on the 1-10 scale is not very important. Continual progress and improvement is.

Recognition and Thanks

Take the time to walk around this week and thank your people for the work they do, the ideas they surface, and the opportunities they discover. Make it a weekly habit.

I am grateful to all my clients present and past, to my mentors and associates, my family, my friends and everyone who has helped me to continually learn and my business to thrive. Have a happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

 

 

Leadership: Your Mileage May Vary

When working with clients on implementing strategy, accelerating change, or improving performance, the actual results they achieve can vary greatly. Some clients make good steady progress while others grab ahold and rocket forward with tremendous speed and growth. There are a number of factors involved, including (but not limited to) quality of leadership, skilled and experienced staff, honed processes, a strong business model and top-notch communications. But by far the number one determinant is the leader’s mindset.

Those leaders who focus on opportunity, expect high performance, and are ready to make changes are the ones who to see the best results. They build self-confidence in their organizations and challenge their people to accomplish great things. In these organizations, people usually tell me that they accomplished more than they thought they were capable of accomplishing.

Those who focus on difficulties, intractable problems, and ongoing barriers will realize much smaller gains. They look for short-fall and have low expectations. And their employees reflect that by approaching challenges as something to ‘try,’ but not to ‘get done.’

If you want to accelerate growth, you have to be thinking bigger, more positively, and demonstrate it in your leadership. People will mimic the tone, the mindset, and the attitude of the leader. And that predicts success.

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

Making Relationships Productive

To be successful, managers and leaders need good relationships with their peers, subordinates and bosses. Yet, I usually see less-than-effective relationships when working with a leader. Often those relationships are allowed to continue, despite the personal and organizational costs.

Net Loss Relationships. The worst relationships are those where two people cause each other to be less productive. Blaming, miscommunicating, and defensiveness consumes energy of everyone around them. The longer the relationship continues, the more it costs the organization. As the manager, you cannot let these relationships coast – they will not get better on their own.

Breakeven Relationships. Sometimes productive and sometimes unproductive, these relationships are marked by people who cannot seem to develop effective ways to work together on a consistent basis. They are often cross-functional such as an engineering manager and a production manager, or a sales manager and a marketing manager. Together, the individuals do not add significantly to productivity, but their bosses tend to ‘live with it.’

Productive relationships. In these relationships, two people create more than they could do each one working independently. It’s rarely the case that the two agree on everything, but that is one of the reasons they are both creative in coming up with solutions, and productive in their work together. Usually, they share a common goal, and realize that to be successful, they have to depend on each other.

How are your relationships with your peers, direct reports, and boss? Which ones produce a net increase in productiveness, and which reduce productivity? What kind of relationships do you see in your overall organization, and in particular, among your direct reports? Do you have an approach and a plan to either make relationships productive or take other action? It’s important to act on them now – waiting will result in three possible outcomes; and two of them are costly.

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.

The First Key to Exponential Growth

If you want exponential growth, you need to have a very clear picture of the business you want to have in the future: What will you be providing? Who will be the customers? How big will the company be? What will be your role? It’s called ‘having a vision.’ It’s not enough to be obsessed with more revenue, fewer problems and more profits. That’s being stuck in the day-to-day. You must think bigger.

Some leaders don’t have such a vision, and that’s a problem. But it’s nearly as bad when the leader does have a vision, but only shares it with key people and the vision never gets communicated to people who sell to customers, make the products, deliver the services, and make things happen on the frontline. If they don’t know where you want to take your company, how can they help make it happen?

If you want growth, you must have a vision, and you also do three other things: First, articulate it simply. Second, communicate throughout your organization as well as to your board, investors, customers, vendors, and any other key stakeholders. Get everyone on the same page. Third, reinforce it with rewards for your people.

This is not as easy as it may sound, particularly for your own business. It can be extremely helpful to have an advisor who can work with you to develop the vision and make it simple and effective.

How clearly have you developed and communicated your vision?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

 

Harassment: What CEOs can do about it

The long-time Weinstein abuse and harassment was both widespread and known in the entertainment industry and beyond. It was an “open secret” that at least one major media outlet knew about, but didn’t report on, and it existed in an industry that is outspoken in its support of individual rights.

What kept the lid on was power. The power to end careers, end deals, and end financial contributions.

Power can keep the lid on within organizations too. A person with the power to fire, demote, destroy a career or a reputation can effectively keep the lid on abuse that is both well-known within the organization, but contained. I once worked with a very large organization where both the chief executive and the board had no idea that a senior executive’s abusive behavior was widespread, but no one wanted to tell the CEO for fear for their jobs, and a concern that the situation wouldn’t be adequately addressed.

These situations can quickly destroy an organization’s culture and create a major problem for senior management.

The solution: Chief executives and boards need to have two elements in place: A mechanism to alert them to these kinds of situations, and an impeccable process to address these situations when they surface. There are several effective ways to do both.

What are you doing about this?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

3 Key Elements of Teamwork

One of the most important factors in achieving high performance is teamwork. That’s true for two reasons: First, because organizations exist because their overall mission and goals require more than one person and those people must coordinate their efforts and collaborate. Second, because well-functioning teams always out-perform collections of individuals.

I am often retained by senior leaders to improve overall company performance. It is nearly always the case that weak teamwork is one cause of underperformance.
Effective teams require good leadership, capable team members and a plan to orchestrate their individual and team performance.

How would you rate your teamwork? What could use strengthening?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

 

What leaders can learn from Wells Fargo, Uber, and Weinstein

Corporate culture is in the news due to the likes of Wells Fargo, Uber, and the Harvey Weinstein Company. CEOs, through their own behavior, set the values and the standards of an organization. It generally matters very little what the CEO says in speeches or what values are posted in the lobby. What really matters is how the CEO acts, and how senior managers act.

Here’s a rule of thumb: If you want to understand the values of an organization, look at what it takes to get promoted.

Corporate culture is real. It has a powerful affect on people. You need to be concerned about how your corporate culture informs your employees’ behavior. A strong culture can be a source of competitive advantage. A weak culture usually causes problems.

What are you doing to build and reinforce a strong, positive culture in your business?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.