Why You Need to Talk With Employees

A leader needs to keep in touch with customers because a business’ real value is realized on the outside. 

But it’s just as important to keep in touch with employees.  Get out of your office, talk to people individually and in groups, find out what’s working, what’s not working, what’s getting in their way of being as effective and productive as they’d like to be. 

Only by doing this will you hear things that otherwise would not make it to your office.  You’ll hear good ideas and key trends to give you a better understanding than relying solely on internal reporting.  Quality issues and improvement ideas, workplace problems and suggestions, and even hints of harassment can be surfaced this way.  Consider your employee contact as part of an early warning system.

It’s also an opportunity for you to reinforce your leadership messaging.  You can answer questions, provide background for decisions, and ask people what they are doing that day to act on key priorities.

Build employee contact into your weekly schedule.

Time to Clean House?

Computers get bogged-down over time as programs take more and more memory.

Similarly, organization structures and processes get bogged-down by the ongoing addition of policies, procedures, and rules.  Almost always these new rules are designed to make work easier for one group, but the result of all departments adding rules is an overall slow-down.

It’s a good idea to periodically put every meeting, report, and staff process on trial for their lives.  Do they add value?  Is the benefit greater than the cost? 

This doesn’t have to be done all at once.  For example, take the usual reports distributed every month and ask the people receiving them if they get any value from them.  Then stop doing any that don’t add value.

Clear-out your old files and optimize your operating system.

Copyright 2019  Bob Legge

___________________________

I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness 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 www.boblegge.com

How to Stop Circular Discussions about Decisions

One of the ways that meetings can be both frustrating and inefficient is when participants are faced with a situation and are going around and around debating alternative solutions.

I’ve found it’s very helpful to remember that decision making has three components: 

  • The objectives or results desired
  • Alternative options to achieve the objectives, and
  • Risks inherent in the alternatives.

When faced with a problem, people often skip the objectives and jump right to the alternatives and get mired in the pros and cons.   At that point, it’s best to interrupt the discussion and get clear on the objectives or desired results.  Usually, that moves the entire decision process along.

Copyright 2019  Bob Legge

___________________________

I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness 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 www.boblegge.com

How to Improve Accountability

The word “accountability” can have a lot of negative connotations for people, including managers.  In most cases, that’s because they either don’t understand accountability, or had a bad experience with a boss who used accountability as a cudgel. 

It doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s not that people don’t want to be accountable.  It’s that they don’t want to get belittled or punished.  In companies where accountability is strong, people feel the opposite.  They feel energized and empowered.

When a company has weak accountability, there are usually three key attributes at work:

  • First, the concept of accountability has not been well-defined.
  • Second, there is no clear system of accountability.
  • Third, there exists distrust about how accountability will be managed.

And given all three, there can be a high level of resistance to accountability.

Yet, in highly productive organizations, employees find accountability to be energizing and motivating.

Here are the keys:

  1. Accountability has a strong focus on results, not activities.
  2. Management sets direction with clear priorities defined by a few objectives and targeted results.
  3. Employees have significant freedom to determine how to achieve objectives.
  4. Managers know how to both validate results, and productively address situations where performance is lagging.

Copyright 2019  Bob Legge

___________________________

I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness 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 www.boblegge.com

The Implementation Advantage


Strategy fails when it’s not implemented well – when it’s not connected to what goes on in people’s jobs day-to-day.  You need to connect it.  And you also want decisions to be made consistent with strategic intent.  Strategy implementation has to be part of the daily fabric of the organization.  It’s not done once a month, it’s not something you do once a week; it must be the daily fabric of the organization.  And, by the way, it doesn’t need to add to day-to-day work.  But it does take smart implementation. 

When you’re ready to launch the strategy, you need to make sure that you’ve got everything ready to go:  Your communications, your top team fully on board, your organization structure and key processes in alignment.

Copyright 2019  Bob Legge

___________________________

I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness 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 www.boblegge.com

3 Leadership Themes for 2019

A quick observation:  My best clients, the ones who get the most value from our work together, take the ideas we discuss and put them into practice instead of thinking about them or dwelling on why they can’t act.  They are also already effective leaders with an ongoing desire to get better and stronger.    

As you go forward this new year, put emphasis on the following:

  • Your vision.  Give your people the “why” behind what drives you and should drive your business.  It can be a vision statement (like Apple) or a rallying cry (like FedEx.)  Make work something more than the day-to-day operations.
  • Your ability to articulate the vision.  Posting a vision statement or values is okay, but the most effective leaders are continually communicating the vision and strategic theme over and over in different ways.
  • Focus.  Keep the organization focused on the few things that really drive value for customers.  All else is added cost.  Organizations have an amazing ability to add complexity, go off on tangents, and get caught-up in policy and procedure.  Simplify and keep your organization sharply-focused.

Copyright 2019  Bob Legge

___________________________

I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness 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 www.boblegge.com


The Sharply-Focused Organization

Strategy formulation and planning are really two different things.  And of course the value isn’t in spending three days setting strategy.  The point isn’t walls full of easel sheets and group think, it’s all about what do you do to make things happen.  Strategy is NOTHING without implementation.

Implementation is putting strategy into action.

That means several things:

  1. Creating timeframes, metrics, accountabilities, and so forth, so that, as CEO after three months, you can know you’ve made progress. 
  2. Getting the organization sharply focused on the strategy. 
  3. Managing execution
  4. Communicating with the people in the organization about what the strategy is in a way that is clear, simple and compelling. 
  5. Making changes, when necessary to structure, work flows, management processes, people, compensation and the rest, to ensure that the organization is very focused and fully aligned with the strategy.

Formulating a strategy is only the beginning.
How good is your follow-through?

Copyright 2018  Bob Legge

___________________________

 I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness 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 www.boblegge.com

Making changes, when necessary to structure, work flows, management processes, people, compensation and the rest, to ensure that the organization is very focused and fully aligned with the strategy.