Three Imperatives of Profitable Growth

From over 30 years of working with organizations of all sizes and in many industries on improving business outcomes especially growth and profits:

  1. The most valuable part is having a plan that focuses on both distinctive strategy and operational excellence.
  2. The hardest part is sticking to the plan by following-up on performance commitments including position accountabilities, projects, and key operating measures.
  3. The chief downfall is not aligning the organization with plan. Successful companies have one plan with everyone understanding their role in getting results.  Also-rans may have a plan, but they let organizational functions and departments do their own thing.

© Copyright 2017  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

Beware Organizational Arsonists

An arsonist is someone who finds little things to pick on, to call attention to, and to question.  They start small  “fires” here and there requiring time and attention to put them out.  The fires they start are not part of continuous improvement, they are distractions and they divert resources away from the strategy and the important and urgent tasks.  Some organizations even appoint fire fighters to put out the fires caused by the arsonists.  You don’t need arsonists or fire fighters.

What’s Your Point?

Many people tell me that they like my On the Same Page emails because they are brief, to-the-point, and practical.  I try to do the same thing when I speak.  Because I learned some time ago that the very best leaders I’ve worked with don’t need a lot of words — they express their thoughts effectively and confidently by being terse.  In comparison, I see people in meetings get long-winded, going off on tangents, telling stories, or even repeating what they say.

I’ve found that the longer one talks, the less they actually communicate.   That’s either because their message gets lost in all the words, or they don’t really know what their message is.

When you’re clear about your message, you are able to say it briefly.  Work on this for yourself and for your team.  It will help make meetings shorter and more effective.  A tip:  Ask, “What’s your point?”

© 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

What to Try When Two People Aren’t Getting Along

In the 1970’s, the Army launched a study to identify where, in their organization, race relations were the best.  The answer:  In a foxhole under fire.  It doesn’t matter who another person is; when you’re both under attack,you have to depend on each other to stay alive.

I’ve used that story many times with clients when two people in their organizations don’t get along well.  You can put them in a ‘foxhole’ by assigning them a project to work or a result to achieve — one where they have to rely on each other for successful.  It’s important that one person alone can’t get it done.

Most times, not always, but most times they will find new respect for each other.

© 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

What to do About Individual Performance Problems

I am often asked to look at people in key positions who are not performing at the level expected.  Often, management already has in mind the solution:  “He needs training,” or, “She needs coaching.”

Before jumping to an alternative solution, it’s important to understand the cause of the performance issue.  The key question to ask is this:  Could the person do the job if he/she absolutely had to?

  • If the answer is no, then you have either a training/development issue, or an inability to learn the job.
  • If the answer is yes, then it is an issue of volition — the person could do it, but doesn’t want to.

Those are two very different situations, each requiring very different solutions.

Be careful about how you diagnose performance issues.

Here’s What is Keeping You From Better Growth and Profits

I see three significant reasons why companies don’t grow and fail to improve profitability:

  1. Lack of Focus — This takes many forms including no strategy, weak strategy implementation, and everyone doing their own thing. You have to have clear direction, a distinctive strategy, and an organization that sharply-focused on delivering it.
  2. Weak Accountability — It’s not enough to know what to do. If people don’t follow-through, don’t get the needed work done, then the strategy will fail.
  3. Staying with people beyond their level of competence — Over and over I’ve seen presidents struggle with this.  They know good old Joe or Mary is under-performing, but they simply cannot take the necessary action to replace weak performers with upgraded talent.  This is most notable at the level of managers and above.  I cannot stress enough the dramatic improvement in performance that comes from finally owning-up and making a change.

What’s holding back your organization’s growth and profits?  Why aren’t you taking action?

© 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

 

Observations From Southeast Asia

I’ve been immersed in different cultures for the past couple weeks in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Yangon, Myanmar.  Some observations germane to leaders:

  • These cultures are distinctly different, and based on values and beliefs that inform both large group and individual behaviors.  If you want to change the culture in your organization, you have to work on the values and beliefs and ingrain them.  There are proven approaches and tools to do it successfully.
  • As little as seven years ago, Myanmar (Burma) had one of the lowest Internet penetrations of any country.  They skipped cable and went right to cell phones and now have one of the highest percent of the population using the Internet of any country. Want to connect with your employees in real time? Rethink your communication strategy.
  • Side note:  Despite the above, and the lifting of U.S. sanctions in October, Myanmar has enormous challenges with multiple sites of armed conflict – they have 136 ethnic groups speaking over 300 languages.
  • In every culture, the safest way to travel is to go with the flow.  Drive like the locals, etc.  Good advice for anyone wanting to fit in with a corporate culture.
  • There are very few signs in English, especially in Bangkok and Yangon.  The exception:  Large signs at a construction site and treacherous mountain road that read, “Safety First,” in areas where the population cannot read English.  Communication anyone?

Finally, a study of elephants in the 2014 book, Elephant Company, notes that which elephant is the natural leader of the herd has nothing to do with dominance, and everything to do with cooperation.  Elephants are exceptionally intelligent animals.

© 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