10 Ways to Demotivate People

1. Give them a jerk for a boss
2. Announce a layoff
3. Focus them on routine tasks instead of business results
4. Don’t tell them the overall vision and strategy
5. Blame and criticize profusely and highlight mistakes and failures
6. Avoid telling why something is done or needs to happen
7. Take all the credit for achievements
8. Impose policies, procedures, approvals, etc. to restrict everything they do
9. Announce that you’re going to practice pay for performance, then give everyone the same merit increase
10. Keep misfits and non-performers and load additional work on good performers

What is Strategy Implementation: A Quick Overview

Most strategies fail to achieve their objectives.  The problem is rarely the strategy and usually a weak implementation.  Successful implementation requires far more than an action plan, t-shirts, and coffee mugs.  Here's what it takes to successfully launch a strategy.


Decision Paralysis

During détente back in the days of Gorbachev, a group of Russian diplomats was taken to an American supermarket.  Contrary to the expectations of the American hosts, the Russians were not delighted with the choice of foods.  Instead, they were paralyzed by choices.  Similarly, the very best salespeople in men’s stores won’t show a customer the full array of ties to choose from because they often won’t choose any tie.  Instead, they will set out 2-3 shirt and tie combinations for the customer to choose from, which dramatically increases the odds of a purchase.
I see a similar phenomenon occurring in organizations today:  People and organizations are overwhelmed by too much choice–particularly the choice of what they should be working on.  When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.  Be aware of this and make things easier to decide.  One of the enormous benefits of a strategic plan is that it narrows choice.  But the benefits only accrue if the leadership maintains organizational focus and limits meandering, tangents, and forces of misdirection.
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Forbes blogpost – If you missed my recent post about strategy implementation with marketing strategist Dorie Clark (who also blogs for Harvard Business Review and Huffington Post,) take a look here.

© Bob Legge 2013  All rights reserved

Bob Legge is the Strategic Edge providing organizations with the ability to achieve their most audacious goals.  His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, non-profits, education and government. To find out more, contact Bob at boblegge@boblegge.com or call him at (585) 305-7853.
Bob’s blog is http://www.boblegge.wordpress.com
Bob’s website is http://www.boblegge.com.

The Secrets to Effective Succession Plans

These are proven techniques to make succession planning effective, based on my 30+ years of advising scores of companies.

  1. The leader needs to be the driver and chief architect.  HR can be a facilitator, but should not lead succession planning.
  2. Expand your thinking beyond internal candidates–you don’t want the best of what’s available, but rather the best fit.
  3. Don’t begin by identifying candidates for each existing position.  Instead, identify the compentencies required for each position today and in the future.
  4. Use more than just opinions to make assessments.  Use information such as education, prior levels of responsibility, key successes, proven ability to learn, etc.
  5. Pay attention to critically important development points, such as the jump from functional responsibilities to P&L accountability.  Identify these and support them.
  6. Group meetings to discuss succession candidates are wasted if they are simply opinion focused.  Think through how to develop a group perspective on talent and development.
  7. Succession plans offer little real value.  What are your action plans to close gaps and accelerate critical development?
  8. You’ll learn a lot when you see the candidates each leader proposes for his/her position.  Some of the learning you won’t like.
  9. Hold leaders accountable for follow-through on succession actions.  That’s where the real  value is, and where succession often fails to deliver.
  10. Demonstrate leadership by being the first to follow-through with targeted development plans for your own potential candidates.

 

 

Bob Legge works with companies to improve individual and organizational performance. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, non-profits, education and government. To find out more, contact Bob at boblegge@boblegge.com or call him at (585) 305-7853. Bob’s website is http://www.boblegge.com.

Forbes blog on accountability

My Forbes.net blog post with Harvard Business Review and Forbes.com writer Dorie Clark last week addressed the two core elements of successfully implementing a strategy and leading every day:  A good accountability process and creating a culture where every employee owns their results and feels a part of the business.  Time and again I’ve seen these two elements make the difference between successful organizations and the also-rans.  What are you doing to be excellent at these?

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Stop competing on cost:  Watch my new video Make Your Strategy Distinctive.

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The Strategy Implementation Workshop — Get traction, torque, and speed behind your strategy, get your entire senior management team on the same page, and dramatically increase your success with this powerful hands-on workshop.  Together, your team will create a compelling vision and layout the organization strategy, accountability drivers, and management platform to make it happen.  A high return on investment and the best kind of management team development.  If you want to know specifics, call me at 585-305-7853.

© Bob Legge 2013  All rights reserved

Bob Legge is the Strategic Edge providing organizations with the ability to achieve their most audacious goals.  His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, non-profits, education and government. To find out more, contact Bob at boblegge@boblegge.com or call him at (585) 305-7853.
Bob’s blog
Bob’s website

The Importance of Reducing Drag

I’m catching up on all the sailing magazines that have piled up since Fall, and preparing for another sailing season.  My boat is ready to go in this week, and to prepare it, I made sure it had an adequate coverage of anti-fouling paint to keep aquatic growth from attaching itself to the hull and creating drag.  Like aircraft designers, boat designers are obsessed with eliminating drag.  Leaders should be too because organizations have a strong tendency to accumulate drag in the form of unnecessary meetings, reports, approvals, policies, procedures and diversions.  It’s up to the leader to keep the organization focused on the strategy and to maintain or increase speed.  What do you to reduce drag?

Strategies Get Implemented by People

Formulating a new strategy can be hard work, but it’s not nearly as difficult as implementing a strategy.  That’s because implementing the strategy requires mobilizing hundreds or even thousands of employees and leading changes necessary to make the strategy successful.  It’s little wonder that upwards of 90% of strategies fail to achieve their stated objectives.    Too often management teams leave strategic planning assuming that the strategy will implement itself, but that approach hardly ever survives past one month.  Here’s a common scenario:  In the weeks following strategic planning a binder appears on each executive’s desk containing the plan.  In a week or two, the binder moves from the desk to the credenza.  And in a few more weeks, the binder disappears into a file drawer where it remains out of sight and forgotten for the remainder of the year.  I’ve seen it happen, and in more than just a few companies.

Strategies get implemented by people. And just as employee motivation is more about commitment than control, employee satisfaction is more about being stimulated, challenged and achieving something they find meaningful.  You must be able to say why this is the most exciting time in the history of your company.

There’s an enormous difference between satisfaction with the workplace and satisfaction with the work.  Like putting lipstick on a pig, throwing pizza parties, t-shirts, free parking, and a workout facility.  amenities at employees can make work more tolerable, but what really turns employees on—especially the employees you value the most—is a compelling purpose that challenges and energizes them and provides meaningful opportunities.  Very few organizations get this right and as a result they have a huge population of people who perform at less than their potential.

In short, if you want to engage your people, amenities are nice, but purpose and opportunity start their engines.   When Steve Jobs was luring John Sculley from Pepsi to run Apple, he asked Sculley whether he wanted to make sugar water the rest of your life.