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.

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

 

 

Are Your People Becoming Obsolete?

One of the dangers to both employees and companies these days, particularly in small to medium-size companies, is that there tends to be insufficient emphasis on continuous learning. The manager or production supervisor or engineer or even IT person are hard at work year after year solving problems and making improvements inside their company. Yet, unless there is a concerted effort to keep up with advancements outside of the company, they are putting themselves, and the company, in jeopardy.

When the company suddenly needs to change because of market disruption, technological innovation, or the like, those people who have been so valuable in the past can become obstacles to needed change. By then it’s usually too late to catch-up as people with the needed new skills are brought in to take the company to the next level.
I’ve seen this happen far too many times.

While it’s true that individuals need to make sure they are keeping their skills up to date, companies also need to be responsible to ensure that external trends are monitored and knowledge and skills are continually updated.

Ask yourselves these kinds of questions:

  • What trends do we see in our markets, our technologies, and the overall economy that could be indicators of change?
  • What one big change would make our business obsolete?
  • Are our people regularly bringing in new ideas from the outside?

Essential Steps for a High Return on People

Most organizations devote a lot more time and money on weak performers than they do on top performers. They think that by investing in the lowest performing people, they will improve overall company performance.

You wouldn’t do that with a portfolio of products or stocks, so why do it with your organization?

To improve your return on people, do the following:

1. Identify your best performers and make sure that they get the support and opportunities they crave. Help them contribute in even better ways that affect greater and more extensive parts of the business.

2. Identify those people with the potential to be excellent performers and provide them with the coaching, mentoring and focused development that will enable them to develop and become superb.

3. Stop investing so much time and money in weak performers. Instead, give them very clear performance expectations and deadlines. If they need specific training to be competent, give it to them, but measure whether the training actually resulted in better performance.

Also, if a manager is one of the weak performers, look to see if his/her direct reports have had any development opportunities – chances are they haven’t. Stop letting the weak manager hold people back.

Put your investment where you will get the highest return — in the best and those with the potential to be successful. Have clear performance expectations for everyone and the right processes to address poor performers when needed.

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 (at) leggecompany.com

 

Sharpen the Focus on Results

Here is one of the most common, yet astounding, things that I see in organizations: Direct reports often aren’t clear on what their jobs are. Yes, they are busy all day, but if you ask any of them what, specifically, their job is, you get a job title, or a general explanation.

Do this: Ask each of your direct reports to write-down the top 4-8 ongoing results that each of their jobs is designed to accomplish. Focus on the results the job is intended to accomplish, not the activities the person does. Ask them to bring the list to your next one-on-one.

Chances are, you’ll have a very good conversation, one that will help both of you get clearer on both outcomes and priorities.

Unless you, and especially your direct reports, know what each person is expected to accomplish, work is just a constant stream of busy-ness.

Activities aren’t what matters; results are.

 

What they may not be telling you

You need to make sure that the information you receive is not filtered. That can be more difficult than it seems.

You have to make sure that your people understand that you want candid and straight information about your business. Such information is vital to you knowing your business and making good decisions.

The worst example of this is Jeff Immelt’s strong dislike for bad news at General Electric. He insisted on only hearing good news, what insiders named “Success Theater,” where overly optimistic projections did not match the realities of the business. Because of this, Immelt did not fully understand his own business and continued to tell the board and analysts that the company was strong and ready for growth. As a result, GE is in serious trouble. The company may be broken-up and the entire board could be fired. Immelt has already lost his job.

What do you need to do to make sure that you are getting clear and unvarnished information about all salient parts of your business?

Here’s How to Set Priorities

You’re the leader. 

That means you choose the music that everyone dances to.  You need to be out in front and leading, providing direction and ideas that excite and motivate followers.  Here are my four best tips on setting priorities at the top.

  1. Be focused on what needs to be done in the future.  Don’t set priorities that will bog you down in the past.
  2. Look to seize opportunities rather than fix problems.
  3. Concentrate on accomplishing something challenging; something that will make a difference.
  4. Limit your priorities to a small number.  You’ll end-up getting much farther.

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 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 (at) leggecompany.com