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.

Developing Young Management Talent

Build both accountability and managerial skills, especially in newly-promoted managers.

Instead of asking a manager for detail on project progress, ask what he or she needs to do in his/her organization to ensure that projects are completed on-time. In the first case, you’re asking the manager to revert to past behavior and act like an individual contributor again. The manager thinks that you want him/her to personally take action and personal responsibility to move projects along or intervene for specific results.

What you want to do is get him/her thinking like a manager – ask what needs to be done in his/her organization to ensure projects are completed on time and standards are met.

It’s an important difference because one kind of question causes regression to past strengths, the other helps grow managerial skills.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help CEOs, presidents, and senior leaders discover opportunities to become effective leaders and grow their businesses while mastering work/life balance. He has worked with leaders of Fortune 1000 and mid-market companies across multiple industries and five continents to 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.
Bob’s website is http://www.boblegge.com
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

How to be an inspiring communicator

A common challenge of leaders is to become a better, more inspiring and energizing communicator. To do that, it helps to change your perspective on your business and to think about it differently so that your can talk about it in new and exciting ways. In particular, a different strategic perspective is helpful. Leaders get their heads up above the day-to-day challenges and are able to articulate strategic themes that both attract and excite people.

For example, ask yourself, “Why is this the most exciting time in our company’s history?” What are you doing as a company that is unique and different, that gives new meaning to what everyone is working towards? Find one or few of these insights, and you will be a much better communicator.

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.

Make Top Team Meetings Effective

Developing a highly-functioning top team is not easy. It takes the right combination of people, agreement on a clear direction, the ability to interact effectively, and a number of other factors.

One difficulty I’ve noticed in many top teams is that their meetings run way too long and just don’t seem to be a good, productive use of time. The problem usually isn’t a time issue, but rather a content issue –they focus on content that is beneath them. Top teams need to focus on strategy, resource allocation and finding ways to effectively coordinate value-added processes across functions (such as the sales-operations process, or customer delivery and responsiveness.) These are the topics that only the top team can effectively address.

Stop addressing things that individuals or functions should handle. And don’t use meetings for informational presentations – they can be distributed for review.

What topics does your top team focus on?

A Great Time for Recognition

This is a good time of year to recognize exceptional performance of one or a few key individuals. Consider a lump-sum cash award, especially if you have someone who does not participate in a formal incentive plan.

Research has shown that lump sum, discretionary, and unanticipated awards have a greater effect on job performance than the same amount in base salary. And they also help to retain good people.

Present the award in private with the person’s immediate supervisor or manager, and emphasize how much you appreciate the individual’s contributions. Such recognition means a lot to individuals. Imagine how it feels to receive the award, and what a proud moment it is for that person to go home and tell his/her family all about the accolades and award.

Cash awards or not, be sure to recognize people for their work through the year.

Corporate Renewal Best Practice

Every organization needs to ensure continuous learning and increasing overall competency. In addition, younger employees are anxious to take on more responsibility, while senior employees are holding off on retirement. Some companies are creating a path for younger employees by moving the seniors aside, but a far better solution is to transition those valued senior employees to new roles where they can still drive results while sharing some accountability and providing mentoring to younger employees as they take on more responsibility.

This capitalizes on the strengths of the seniors and maintains their value to the organization. It also helps advance two key corporate goals:
1. Developing talent, and
2. Retaining the best young talent.

At a time of talent shortages and increased turnover, solutions like this can pay significant dividends.

What are you doing to ensure corporate renewal? Let me know if you have a best practice to share.

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.

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.