Ten Reasons Why Strategies Fail

  1. There isn’t a strategy.
  2. The strategy is distributed in 3-ring binders, everyone celebrates getting that done and thinks the strategy will implement itself.
  3. The strategy is actually an operations improvement plan—not a strategic view of the future business and how to achieve it.
  4. The strategy is not simply and clearly communicated to the organization, so no one understands it and cannot possibly execute it.
  5. Senior management treats the strategy as so confidential they cannot share it with the organization—who do they think is going to execute it?
  6. The senior team sees strategy as an annual day-long discussion with lunch, and it never becomes part of the day-to-day work and decision-making.
  7. There is no accountability or follow-through, and no plan to deliver the outcomes required by the strategy
  8. The strategy never gets translated into division, function, and individual responsibilities.
  9. Urgent matters trump important/strategic initiatives, so after strategic planning, everyone goes back to fighting fires.
  10. Too many initiatives with conflicting priorities are owned by the same people.

Strategies never fail during planning, but during execution.  After developing the strategy, get clear on how it will be implemented including communication, action steps, accountabilities, and required resources.  Strategy should drive the business, not day-to-day challenges.

© Copyright 2016  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 to Use Your People Time

Here’s what works:  Divide your workforce into three groups based on their performance:  The top 20%, the middle 70%, and the bottom 10%.  On which group do you spend most of your time?  If you’re like most managers, an inordinate amount of your time is spent addressing the bottom 10%.  That’s not a good return on investment.  Instead, use the same percentages — 20-40% of your time challenging, stimulating and rewarding the top 20%, 50-70% of your time communicating with the middle 70% (including a substantial amount of listening,) and only 10% of your time on the bottom 10% — telling them exactly where they stand, helping them to significantly and quickly improve, or failing that, separating them.

© Copyright 2016  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

Improving Management Development

David Ogilve, the advertising guru, once noted that half the money spent on advertising is wasted; the problem being that no one knows which half.  The same could be said of training, although I suspect that perhaps as much as 90% of training is wasted.  And unlike advertising, we can know what training is wasted — it’s the training that doesn’t transfer to the workplace.

Management training in particular is fraught with this anomaly.  Time and again I’ve seen companies spend a lot of money on supervisor training with little to show for it.  Even though all the participants are grateful for the opportunity to attend the training, and they come back with glowing reviews of the instructor and the course, very few of what is taught results in improved performance.

Some years ago a study compared the various ways of developing executives and managers and looked at the resulting improvements in performance.  What they concluded was that the very best development experiences happened when participants worked on real business problems in their own companies.  Not only did they solve real problems, but they also learned a lot, all of which they could use on the job.

The bottom line is that putting people to work on real problems, with the time to do it and some good guidance, will give you a far better return on investment than sending everyone off to the next public seminar.  Think about it.

© Copyright 2016  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

Improving the Value of Your Workforce — One Person at a Time

As a leader or manager, one of your tasks is to continually increase the value of your workforce.  Usually this means training and developing groups.  But you should also be thinking about individuals, particularly:

  • Separating those who do not or cannot perform to standards
  • Separating those who do not or cannot behave in-line with the corporate values
  • Selecting and hiring those who do fit the culture and will likely be high performers.

Each and every improvement increases the overall value of your workforce.

© Copyright 2016  Bob Legge

~~~~~

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

When Poor Performance is Caused by the Boss

When analyzing a performance problem, I’ve found it often pays to look at the supervisor or manager and how they manage their people.  Examples:

  • Micromanaging
  • Unclear or no accountabilities
  • Weak communications
  • A lack of performance standards
  • Ineffective or no key processes
  • No performance reviews
  • No performance plans
  • Not addressing performance problems
  • Not addressing development needs
  • Gaps or overlaps in accountability
  • Consistently hiring the wrong people, and so on.

In fact, it’s astounding how often it’s the boss who is enabling performance problems, and with some help, he or she can significantly improve the performance of an individual, a department, a division, or even a company.  Many  times the boss is not aware that this is happening and is very receptive to guidance or coaching.

Do you have supervisors or managers who can be more effective?  What are you doing to help them?

© Copyright 2016  Bob Legge

~~~~~

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 leaders’ behaviors affect their people

Someone (I think it was Woody Allen) said that the role of the leader is to demonstrate how to act to his/her people.  It’s sound advice.  The most admired leaders show a focus and determination on achieving goals, getting things done, welcoming ideas, generating enthusiasm, using data and evidence to make decisions, being compassionate with people concerns, valuing honesty, and so on.  I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders and thousands of managers each of whom had their own way of positively influencing their organizations through their actions.

I’m concerned that our national leaders and candidates often demonstrate deleterious and lamentable behaviors that negatively affect the nation.  Make no mistake:  People do take their cues from their leaders.

My advice to leaders is this:   Your people watch your actions and behaviors and use them to legitimize their own behaviors.  If you want them to be honest, positive, innovative, engaging, and productive then be that way yourself.

Who has the more difficult talent challenge? Small, Medium, or Large Companies?

Small growth companies face a tougher talent environment than medium and large companies.  Here’s why:  While they all share the challenge of finding workers with the needed work ethic and skills, two additional challenges make it far more difficult for the smaller employer:

  • First, because they have fewer employees, each employee is much more important to their operation. So misfits and mediocre performers are a far greater detriment, and any defection of a high performer really hurts.
  • Second, the small growth company desperately needs leaders with the talent and experience to make the right decisions and navigate growth stages, but it’s nearly impossible to pay what those leaders are looking for.

An important talent strategy then is to continually raise performance expectations, while making sure that everyone is developing greater strengths and making bigger contributions.  Be especially watchful for people who are underemployed — whose skills and abilities have been overlooked, suppressed, or ‘pigeon-holed.’  There’s gold there.