Have More Time for Your Priorities

Here are three suggestions to significantly reduce demands on your time:

  • Attract, develop, and retain really good people who report to you. This is very highest priority because direct reports who do not perform well cause you to have to step in and work at their level. When you do that, you are also underperforming. Get great people so you can add the highest value.
  • Formulate and articulate a very clear mission or purpose. A mission forces you and your organization to focus on what is important. Say no to things that may be attractive, but aren’t aligned with your purpose.
  • Leaders are under tremendous pressure to do way too many things. It’s a mistake to try to do 20 different things. Instead, choose 1-2 priorities each day and say no to everything else. Move the 1-2 things ahead a mile instead of moving 20 things forward an inch.
Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I provide leaders with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals. I advise and consult with leaders to increase their effectiveness and improve work/life balance. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce sustainable growth and value.
If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for your priorities, contact me. Together, we’ll explore ways to work together.
My website is www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

 

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.

Special Report: Retain Your Key People

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that employees are voluntarily quitting their jobs at the highest rate since the internet boom in 2001, and most of them are getting bigger paychecks – roughly 30% increases according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The trend is across all industries and is due to the strong economy and very low unemployment.

Nearly all of my clients have reported losses of good people, mostly to competitor companies and for significantly higher pay, and many clients have been struggling to find good, reliable people to hire for some time now.

Here’s what you should be doing now:

1. Focus on Your Best People.

You cannot effectively address this concern by looking at your entire workforce. Instead, create a list of the 10-15% of employees who are high performers and/or the ones you cannot afford to lose because of their expertise and the critical nature of their jobs to your operations and your customers.

Go through the list person-by-person and determine the following:

  • Are they being paid what they are worth?
  • Are they being managed by an effective manager who is good at engaging and communicating with his/her people? Does the manager know of any frustrations or problems the employee is experiencing?
  • Are they challenged, stimulated, and feeling accomplishment?
  • Have they been told recently how much they are valued?
  • Is there a development plan in place specifically for each person to provide more opportunities to get involved in the business? For ideas, look at the article I co-wrote for Forbes: http://bit.ly/2KWb4P5

Make changes to fix any of the problems identified. If you need to make exceptions to pay policies or other practices, do it. These are your best/most valuable people. Losing any one of them will cost you 1.5-2 times their annual pay in lost productivity, position vacancy, costs to cover their absence, replacement and training costs associated with a new hire, etc.

These changes need to be proactive. Waiting until someone receives an offer from another company, then making a counter offer seldom works to retain the person, and even if you do manage to keep them, it causes ongoing resentment.

If you are concerned about losing the best of the best, then you might want to take even stronger measures, such as a long-term retention incentive. It accrues value for key people and if they leave the company, they’ll also forfeit the accrued value.

2. Strengthen Your Company’s Capability to Attract, Select, and Retain Good People

The ability to retain high performers is the result of doing many things well – not just one thing – and it begins with recruiting and selecting the right people in the first place. Of course, this is very challenging in a business environment like today’s, and that’s why it’s so important to do it well.

  • Create A Compelling Value Proposition. Answer this question: Why would a really good performer want to come to work at your company? (The answer is more than pay and benefits.)
  • Develop Specific Profiles. Ideally, you have very clear profiles of the kinds of people who fit your culture and who will perform well. These are not canned profiles from personality questionnaires, but rather the result of thinking-through the skills, perspectives, learning style and attitudes you want.
  • Strengthen Your Recruiting and Selection Process: You’ll also have an ongoing recruiting process – not just when there are openings, but all the time and with people who are already screened and qualified, ready for an offer. This needs to be treated as the important process it is, and continually improved.  Both quality AND speed are imperative in filling positions.

You can make a positive difference in retaining your most valued people, but like any other key challenge, it needs serious attention.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.

My website is www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob@boblegge.com

When a Key Manager Isn’t Cutting It

Having the right strategy and structure is good, but you need to make sure that you have the right key players in every important management position. Is each one capable of helping to take your operation to the next level? Do they understand and are they fully committed to the strategy? Do they ‘pack the gear’ (skills, perspective, and attitude) necessary to be highly effective? – the skills, perspective, and attitudes.

If a manager is doing okay, but not excelling, what are you going to do about it? Live with it? Make work-arounds to accommodate them? Are you hesitant to make a move because an individual has been with the company for a long time and were effective in the past?

Whatever the situation, if he or she is not the right person for the position today, you must make a change. That does not necessarily mean he/she has to leave the company, but it does mean you have to face-up to the problem.

I have seen leaders live with mediocre talent that holds the entire company or division back. And I can tell you that in every case where action is taken to get the right talent in the position, everything seems to improve – the operations, the atmosphere, the energy, and the attitudes of high performers who all wonder why it took so long.

Don’t misunderstand me – this should not be a capricious or mean action. It needs to be handled with respect for the person and finding a solution that works for both the company and the person.

Chances are the person in question knows that he/she is not performing up to expectations and is not very happy with the situation and secretly wants a change. In many cases, a better position can be found where he/she will add good value. In other cases, they can be helped to find a much more appropriate and satisfying position in another company.

If you want to talk through a specific case, give me a call.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob@boblegge.com

Fix Organization Structure Issues

Companies tend to organize by functions:  Sales, materials, finance, manufacturing, product development, marketing, etc.  But nearly all organizations produce value through a relatively small number of processes that go across functions.  The leaders of the functions focus on building their own organizations, but overall management needs to be far more focused on those key cross-functional processes — the value chain.  Where does it tend to break-down?  Where can it be faster?  How can it yield greater value?

Problems in the value chain become larger and larger if they are not addressed.

What are your value-producing processes?  Who is over-seeing them, improving their speed and yield?

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob@boblegge.com

Stop Organization Silos

Organization silos occur when employees identify more with their group than with the company. When employees operate in silos they tend to keep information within their work group, distrust other groups, and make decisions without regard for other groups. Silos negatively affect efficiencies, collaboration, communication and they can create strong sub-cultures that work against company goals by hampering the cross-functional processes that drive value.

When a company has silos, it is usually a sign of weak teamwork, trust, and collaboration at the top. So the best way to avoid silos from forming, and to eliminate them when they do form is to focus on two priorities:

First, you have to build a strong team at the top. It’s not enough for an executive to build strong relationships with individuals, they must be organized into a productive team.

Second, make sure that all employees understand the overall strategic context of the organization including the future vision, current challenge, and leadership goals. All employees must understand AND buy-in to the leader’s objectives.

Executives: Don’t Operate Beneath Your Level

Many executives have the opportunity to increase quality and productivity in their organizations, and at the same time reduce demands on their time, simply by operating at their own level. To do this, stop giving orders, doing project reviews, and inserting oneself into operations.

Here’s what will happen:

  1. Direct report managers will become empowered to do their jobs
  2. Individual performers will stop bypassing their managers as they search for fast approvals
  3. You won’t be needed at so many operational meetings, and
  4. The majority of people problems and operational decisions will get handled where they should be handled — close to people and operations.

This can be difficult, especially for new executives who were promoted because they have shown great ability in these areas. But it is a very important transition to make.

The Executive Growth Mindset

To get to the next level of performance and growth, you need to think differently about yourself, and especially your business. You cannot get to the next level by thinking the same way and doing the same things. And it is the thinking part, the executive mindset, that has to change first before any other changes can take place.

Examples are everywhere:
• Electri-cord Manufacturing went from making power cords to complex harness assemblies and then to box and panel build assemblies.
• Sentry Safes went from a regional safe manufacturer selling through mom and pop stationery stores, to being a new products machine serving the mass market and achieving global sales.
• IBM went from making mainframes and PCs to systems consulting.
Every one of these growth changes required changes in the executive mindset.

Your role also has to change. You need to be working on your business instead of in your business. And you need to understand that growth doesn’t happen in a straight line but comes in a series of growth curves. To go from one growth curve to another requires change in how senior executives think about their business and themselves.

Many entrepreneurs cause their business to stall and stop growing precisely because they do not change their role. Very few executives are able to grow a small business into a Fortune 1000 business because they do not understand the need to change themselves. The very smart ones either make the personal changes (like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Tom Golisano) or step aside and hire someone to take the company on its next growth phase.

Winston Churchill said, “Those who cannot change their minds never change anything.”

Where are you in your current growth curve? What will it take to get on the next growth curve?
You have to be thinking differently and bigger.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com

 

Dramatically Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness — Part Two

I’ve been asked what key changes executives need to make in order to have a quantum leap in their effectiveness. What’s interesting about the question is that the answer has little to do with most of the things executives work on to be more effective – tactical things like better managing time, improving specific leadership skills, adopting a new leadership style, etc. All those are good and important, but the really powerful changes have to do with two fundamental and strategic mindset changes.

Last week I covered the first one: Letting go of things that are not important to your current position. Here’s the second fundamental mindset change:

Fundamental Change #2: Change your dominant thought pattern. How you frame your everyday mindset will determine your behaviors and actions. For example, being a pessimist produces vastly different priorities, actions, and results than begin an optimist. Thinking in terms of cutting costs produces vastly different results than thinking in terms of profitable growth. You choose your mental frame and that influences your actions, your employees’ actions, and business results.

Here’s the key: As a rule, you need to be thinking big

It’s very important that you change your self-talk. You have to be optimistic, growth-oriented, focused much less on problems and far more on opportunities. Opportunities to grow the business, opportunities to delight customers, opportunities to get your employees and the organization excited and energized. Yes, problem-solving is important, but it is tactical and best left to your competent operations people – it is not the best way to spend YOUR time. You need to be operating at the level of a leader. Be optimistic, growth-oriented, and positive; focus on where you want to take your company and the strategy to make it happen; in short, lead your organization.

In summary, there are two fundamental changes you need to make in yourself to dramatically improve your leadership: First, let go of the things that are not your job. Second, change your self-talk to be positive and growth-oriented. If you do those, you will be a leader in behavior and action, not just in your title., and you will position yourself and your business for profitable growth.

What will you do, specifically, to make these changes?

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com