Operating at the CEO Level

The CEO has the responsibility to think strategically about the company and its business. This is a two-fold challenge: The first part is to extricate yourself from day-to-day tactics, problems and tasks. This is often a difficult challenge for CEOs. The second part is to learn how to think strategically about your company. This includes its position in the market, what makes it distinctive, what the business must focus on, and equally as important, what it must not be doing.

This is what’s meant by ‘working on the business, instead of in the business.’

Many CEOs I’ve worked with find this a real challenge because they are used to solving problems, fire-fighting, and being the person with all the answers. But to be a CEO, you must stop doing those things and operate at the level of a CEO.

Are you fully operating at the level your position calls for? If not, what would it take for you to get there?

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.

Why You Need to “Think Different”

Exactly 20 years ago, Apple came up with a “Think Different” marketing theme. In part it was a rejoinder to IBM’s “Think,” but it resonated widely with businesses. It’s still a poignant message for CEOs. To take your business to the next level, you need to think differently about it. Change the way you look at your business, develop a new mindset. You cannot get to the next level by thinking the same way and doing the same things.

Examples:
• From making products to fabricating assemblies
• From local distribution to regional, national, and international
• From producing products to offering high-value services
• From a product to a product line, to multiple product lines to ‘category killers’
• And from storefront to online retailing

Think not just bigger, but broader. To do this, you must let go of ‘today’ and let your mind explore into future possibilities. This is what strategy is all about. It is also the work of the CEO, and it must be the work of the CEO because only you have the responsibility to make these decisions, no matter how many others are involved.

In what ways are you thinking differently about your business?

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.

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.

New Senior Leaders Must Change These to be Effective

These Have to Change When You Become an Executive Leader
When a person is promoted to a leadership position as a CEO, COO, president, or senior executive there are three primary competencies that must change to be effective:

  1. Strategic-level perspective and thinking — Only by elevating one’s perspective to include the entire enterprise (or the part the executive leads) can the leader address the most important tasks and focus the organization on the right things.
  2. The skills needed to lead at a high level — Such skills include strategic planning, strategy communication and implementation, delegation and accountability, change leadership all become far more important.
  3. How time is allocated — Determining how to spend time is perhaps the most difficult.  Senior leaders need to spend their time on the things only they can do — not what others can do — and be both highly efficient and ruthless in guarding their time, especially for reflection.  Move a  few things a mile instead of many things an inch.

As a senior leader, how are you doing on these key competencies?

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.

Top 7 Obstacles Getting in the Way of Your Strategy

Over the past 30 years, I’ve worked on strategy and strategy execution with the senior management of Fortune 1000 companies, mid-market companies, and Inc 5000 companies.  In all that time, and across all industries and size of companies, these eight obstacles to achieving strategic goals stand out as the ones I most often work with senior management to overcome.  (Not in any particular order.)

  1. Lack of Accountability.  You need people who know the ongoing results expected of them and who can be relied on to get those results all the time.  It is a cultural problem and an individual person problem to begin with.  If it continues, it is a management problem.
  2. Employees who don’t act like owners.  You need people who are focused on results; common values, and who reflect both in their everyday behaviors.  I can understand why a particular employee may not want to do that, but I do not understand leaders who allow it to continue.  Some of the solution is on leaders to provide the right environment, treat people respectfully, and weed out those who don’t fully contribute.  The rest of the solution is on individuals and the volition to be involved.
  3. The business strategy is unclear (or non-existent.)  Having an action plan is not the same as having a strategy.  High performers need to know where you’re taking the company, not just what actions and results are expected of them everyday.
  4. The organization structure gets in the way.  In general, your organization should be designed around the few processes that drive the most value, not functions or fiefdoms.  The worst is when an organization structure decision, or “work-around” is made to accommodate a weak player.
  5. Key competencies are weak or missing.  Skills, capabilities, and talent drives value.  That includes leadership.  You cannot overcome deficiencies in this area by ignoring them.
  6. Plans and metrics are not aligned with the strategy.  You need an organization that is sharply-focused on driving the strategic objectives in a collaborative and aligned way.  There is no such thing as independent functions; if you have them, get rid of them.
  7. A sub-optimal mindset.  A success mindset, especially at the top, is imperative.  Every one of your key players, in management and throughout the organization, needs to have a confident, optimistic, determined mindset.  Anything else is an energy-sapper and time-waster.

How many of these are you experiencing?

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.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Professional race car drivers have their eyes well down the track in anticipation and readiness.  So do the very best equestrians who immediately upon completing one jump will be looking at the next jump even though it’s not where their horse is currently headed.   And, of course, the quote attributed to Wayne Gretzky is that he skates where the puck will be, not where it is.

The same is true of senior leaders — you need to be focused largely on where you are taking your company.  If you’re consuming your time on today’s needs and challenges, you need to change your perspective, use of time, and skills.  Those are three important competencies I work with senior leaders to improve.  You have managers and skilled talent to execute operating plans and handle problems; your focus needs to be on where your enterprise is heading, the obstacles to get there, and how the organization will need to adapt.

On a scale of 1-10, where 10 means full attention to the organization’s strategic destination, how would you rate yourself?  What do you need to do to improve your future focus?

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.

Take a Lesson From The Beatles

In 1966, The Beatles decided not to tour or do live concerts anymore.  They made the decision primarily because they did not feel they were growing, evolving.  When they played a concert, they played the same songs, and most of the time couldn’t even hear themselves play.  So they stopped and explored and, of course, the result was enormous growth and influence including Sgt. Peppers, the white album, Abbey Road and others.

I have seen managers and leaders at all levels and in all functions fall behind even though they once were the shining stars of their companies.  You must keep investing in yourself.  Living the same year over and over is standing still.  Companies get surpassed; so do individuals.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

Challenge yourself to learn and grow.  Do what the Beatles did and focus more on your own development.

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What are you doing about this?  If you’re serious about taking yourself to a higher level, maybe it’s time for more challenge, stimulation, and reward.  Give me a call — we’ll talk about the options.

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.