Do Your Company Values Do Anything For You?

I’ve seen a lot of companies with fairly generic values posted in conference rooms and other work spaces. You know, values such as “Fairness,” “Teamwork,” and “Honesty.” While those are certainly good values, they don’t really add value, and they are so commonplace that they should be the price of admission – anyone who doesn’t share those values should be escorted to the door.

Instead, you should be thinking of two kinds of values that differentiate your business from the competition, identify the key challenges of the business, and provide employees with clear behaviors. In short, values that will help attract and retain customers and further your business success.

The first is Core Values. These are the fundamental beliefs that guide the business. They play an important role in determining what the company does, what it invests in, and how it seizes opportunities. For example, here are Apple’s first two core values:

  • We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and
  • We believe in the simple, not the complex.

You get the idea.

The second kind of value is Operating Values. These are the values that guide and inform employee behavior at work especially around customers. Examples are these:

  • Wegmans cashiers ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”
  • Vanguard customer service people end every call with, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Operating values determine whether people walk fast, stay late, get excited about challenges, and practice continuous improvement on a daily basis. They also determine the opposite of those behaviors.

The benefit of replacing generic values with specific core values and operating values should be apparent. They focus and engage people on the right tasks and behaviors.

What kind of values do you have? Do they need to be changed?

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.

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.

 

How Does Your Business Make Money?

Don’t laugh.

I find that many key employees, often including managers of functions, really don’t understand the whole business and what it takes both to make money and what the requirements are to make a profit. Your entire senior team needs to understand the components of the ‘profit chain,’ how it works and where the opportunities are for improvement. And a good understanding of this means a strong working knowledge of the key processes within your organization that drive value for customers.

When members of the senior team are pointing fingers at and blaming each other, it’s usually the case that they do not understand the profit chain. When functional groups and especially support groups are off doing their own thing, there’s a clear disconnect in their understanding about how they contribute to making money.

Be clear about how profits are made and what key processes and supports to line organizations are. Make sure each functional manager understands their role in driving profits and can articulate that to their people. And get them all aligned with and sharply-focused on the business strategy.

This is an important function of the top leader and a key element of getting everyone On the Same Page.

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.