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.
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?
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.
- Be focused on what needs to be done in the future. Don’t set priorities that will bog you down in the past.
- Look to seize opportunities rather than fix problems.
- Concentrate on accomplishing something challenging; something that will make a difference.
- 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.
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Contact me at: bob.legge (at) leggecompany.com