Take a Lesson From The Beatles

In 1966, The Beatles decided not to tour or do live concerts anymore.  They made the decision primarily because they did not feel they were growing, evolving.  When they played a concert, they played the same songs, and most of the time couldn’t even hear themselves play.  So they stopped and explored and, of course, the result was enormous growth and influence including Sgt. Peppers, the white album, Abbey Road and others.

I have seen managers and leaders at all levels and in all functions fall behind even though they once were the shining stars of their companies.  You must keep investing in yourself.  Living the same year over and over is standing still.  Companies get surpassed; so do individuals.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

Challenge yourself to learn and grow.  Do what the Beatles did and focus more on your own development.

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What are you doing about this?  If you’re serious about taking yourself to a higher level, maybe it’s time for more challenge, stimulation, and reward.  Give me a call — we’ll talk about the options.

Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

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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 Development Stalls at the Top

The need to continually develop knowledge and skills is important throughout an organization.  You’ve got to have people who are capable of handling new and bigger challenges in all aspects of the business.  If they stall, thinking that being competent today is going to be enough for tomorrow, they’ll get relegated to lesser roles and more knowledgeable and experienced people will be brought in over them.  I see it happening over and over again.

It’s particularly troubling, when development stalls at the top of an organization.  When senior leaders neglect to invest in themselves, it creates a mini-crisis.  Often times, the situation continues on indefinitely, hurting the organization’s performance, position in the market, and reputation with employees.  No high-performer wants to work for boss who isn’t keeping up and is unable to lead, challenge, and stimulate the organization.

What are you doing to invest in your own knowledge and skills?

I offer executive coaching and selected invitation-only leadership experiences for senior executives who are successful, and want to stay up-to-speed.  If you are interested in learning more, contact me.

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 to Stop Investing in Poor Performers

Investing in people to develop and become better performers is important — as long as you are getting a good return on the investment.  But too often I see organizations spending money and management time and attention on weak performers, and not investing much at all in the high performers where a good return is practically guaranteed.  Yes, you want to make sure that you’ve given individuals a good chance to turn-around weak performance, but you need to set a reasonable time period during which they must show measurable improvement in accountability.  After that, if they haven’t shown sufficient improvement, you need to find someone else.

How much are you investing in weak performers vs high performers?
Are you satisfied with the return?

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’s Your Competitive Advantage?

Business strategy is all about competitive advantage.  An brilliant strategy is be both unique and sustainable.  If it’s not unique, then you’re simply running the same race as your competitors.  And if it’s not sustainable, then it will be replicated and no longer be an advantage.

For some companies, technology, innovation and operational excellence are good sources of competitive advantage.  Making them sustainable is the bigger challenge.

One of the smartest moves Kodak made had nothing to do with those sources of competitive advantage.  They already were low-cost producers of high-quality film; but so was Fuji.  Somehow they needed to differentiate their box of film from Fuji’s, in a way that loaded-up value for consumers.  What they did was to shift the focus from film to memories by developing marketing messages about “Kodak moments.”  It created tremendous value in the mind of consumers — value that lasted until digital cameras changed both the technology and the use of images.

What are you doing to create sustainable value for your customers?

On Getting Good Talent

There is a shortage of good talent for many key positions.  It may seem counterintuitive, but it is imperative at times like this that you be MORE selective in who you attract and select.  Here are a few very practical ideas:

  • The biggest mistake in hiring is not in hiring a poor performer (because you’ll weed them out quickly,) but rather in hiring a mediocre performer, because chances are that person will be allowed to continue on producing mediocre results for years. Refine your entire selection process to better identify high-performers.
  • Don’t satisfice. Satisficing is hiring the first person you come across who could do the job.  Don’t do it.
  • Have selection criteria. Use a multi-attribute utility model to assess at least a few candidates based on key selection criteria.
  • Your culture is very important. So, don’t let anyone into your company who does not fit the culture.
  • Be careful how you word recruitment ads. If you state certain criteria as required, many good people will not respond if they don’t have all the “required” criteria.  You’ll miss out on some very good conscientious candidates.
  • How many people do you know who are “excellent” at communication? Right — very few.  Yet, I continue to see many ads, for positions at all levels, stating that candidates must have excellent communication skills, people skills, teamwork skills, etc.
  • Interviews are the most ineffective and least reliable ways of assessing candidates. (Ever wonder why most colleges have done away with campus interviews?)  You can improve the reliability and validity of interviews through techniques such as behavior-based interviewing and structured interviews.

© Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

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Bob Legge provides organizations with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals.  I work with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.  Contact him at  bob.legge@leggecompany.com

How’s the Climate in Your Organization?

Back before culture surveys, attitude surveys, and engagement surveys, we used to have climate surveys, which were a way to measure the “climate” in an organization.  I find it to be a useful term and different from the others.  Culture is about values and behaviors, attitudes are in peoples’ heads, and engagement is about involvement, but climate is about energy — how much energy is available and used in an organization.

Organizations require constant energy to maintain a high level of performance.  The source of new energy is ideas and information; without them, entropy, or disorder, increases.  That is similar to the second law of thermodynamics — without new ideas and information, the energy available to do work will decrease or stay the same.

There are six key sources of energy in organizations:

  1. Competitive strategy.  The firm’s competitive strategy and the plan to achieve it should be energizing.
  2. Leadership. The direction, connection, and communication required to move the organization forward.
  3. Alignment.  The degree to which the organization performs as a whole.
  4. Management at every level.  Effective management techniques to improve strategy execution by generating and focusing the energy people bring.
  5. Job and Work Satisfaction.  The satisfaction and elation of making progress and achieving individual and organizational objectives.
  6. New people.  Who bring with them fresh perspectives and new ideas.

How’s the climate in your organization?  Does your climate need to change?  Could it use a boost?  What are you doing to actively improve the energy and drive within your organization?

© Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

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Bob Legge provides organizations with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals.  I work with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.  Contact him at  bob.legge@leggecompany.com

Senior Management Incentives in the News

Strategic incentives are a good idea at the top.  But getting everyone one in a large company on the same page is difficult, and it doesn’t always work.  Here are a few current examples:

  • United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz reportedly has $500,000 of his bonus tied to customer satisfaction questionnaires.  You’d hardly know it from the nearly unbelievable physical ejection of a passenger, and United’s follow-up to the incident.  Some background:  In 2010, United began a botched merger with Continental.  In 2012, United had 43% of all airline consumer complaints, and has been a leader in complaints since then.  On January 14, 2016 Bloomberg’s article, “United’s Quest to be Less Awful” was published.  Clearly things have needed to change for a long time.
  • Apple’s Tim Cook made less money last year (only $10 million in salary and bonus!) than the year before.  That reflects the downward trend of the iphone business, which might pick up this year with a redesigned phone.  But Cook isn’t betting on riding the iphone into the future.  As in the past, the company’s prospects are secret, but you can bet they are working hard on innovation and disruption in other industries, continuing the path that Apple has taken throughout its history.  That’s what his focus and challenge is, and what his future bonuses will depend on.
  • Ford Motors’ board wants CEO Mark Fields to accelerate the company’s transformation and profitability beyond SUVs and pickups.  They’ve put into place a $2.5 million “strategic incentive grant” designed to reward both innovation and growth.  He received a reduced bonus last year as revenue and quality slumped.  The board realizes that making the core business more profitable won’t be enough — they need innovative solutions for the future.

Obviously, sometimes incentives get everyone on the same page, and sometimes they don’t.  Even the largest companies can’t seem to nail it, in part because transforming such large companies is a significant challenge.  But significant incentives can provide significant focus at the top.

What kinds of incentives are you using at the top?  Are they operational or strategic?

© Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

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Bob Legge provides organizations with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals.  I work with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.  Contact him at  bob.legge@leggecompany.com