When a Key Manager Isn’t Cutting It

Having the right strategy and structure is good, but you need to make sure that you have the right key players in every important management position. Is each one capable of helping to take your operation to the next level? Do they understand and are they fully committed to the strategy? Do they ‘pack the gear’ (skills, perspective, and attitude) necessary to be highly effective? – the skills, perspective, and attitudes.

If a manager is doing okay, but not excelling, what are you going to do about it? Live with it? Make work-arounds to accommodate them? Are you hesitant to make a move because an individual has been with the company for a long time and were effective in the past?

Whatever the situation, if he or she is not the right person for the position today, you must make a change. That does not necessarily mean he/she has to leave the company, but it does mean you have to face-up to the problem.

I have seen leaders live with mediocre talent that holds the entire company or division back. And I can tell you that in every case where action is taken to get the right talent in the position, everything seems to improve – the operations, the atmosphere, the energy, and the attitudes of high performers who all wonder why it took so long.

Don’t misunderstand me – this should not be a capricious or mean action. It needs to be handled with respect for the person and finding a solution that works for both the company and the person.

Chances are the person in question knows that he/she is not performing up to expectations and is not very happy with the situation and secretly wants a change. In many cases, a better position can be found where he/she will add good value. In other cases, they can be helped to find a much more appropriate and satisfying position in another company.

If you want to talk through a specific case, give me a call.

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 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
Contact me at: bob@boblegge.com

Stop Organization Silos

Organization silos occur when employees identify more with their group than with the company. When employees operate in silos they tend to keep information within their work group, distrust other groups, and make decisions without regard for other groups. Silos negatively affect efficiencies, collaboration, communication and they can create strong sub-cultures that work against company goals by hampering the cross-functional processes that drive value.

When a company has silos, it is usually a sign of weak teamwork, trust, and collaboration at the top. So the best way to avoid silos from forming, and to eliminate them when they do form is to focus on two priorities:

First, you have to build a strong team at the top. It’s not enough for an executive to build strong relationships with individuals, they must be organized into a productive team.

Second, make sure that all employees understand the overall strategic context of the organization including the future vision, current challenge, and leadership goals. All employees must understand AND buy-in to the leader’s objectives.

Executives: Don’t Operate Beneath Your Level

Many executives have the opportunity to increase quality and productivity in their organizations, and at the same time reduce demands on their time, simply by operating at their own level. To do this, stop giving orders, doing project reviews, and inserting oneself into operations.

Here’s what will happen:

  1. Direct report managers will become empowered to do their jobs
  2. Individual performers will stop bypassing their managers as they search for fast approvals
  3. You won’t be needed at so many operational meetings, and
  4. The majority of people problems and operational decisions will get handled where they should be handled — close to people and operations.

This can be difficult, especially for new executives who were promoted because they have shown great ability in these areas. But it is a very important transition to make.

The Executive Growth Mindset

To get to the next level of performance and growth, you need to think differently about yourself, and especially your business. You cannot get to the next level by thinking the same way and doing the same things. And it is the thinking part, the executive mindset, that has to change first before any other changes can take place.

Examples are everywhere:
• Electri-cord Manufacturing went from making power cords to complex harness assemblies and then to box and panel build assemblies.
• Sentry Safes went from a regional safe manufacturer selling through mom and pop stationery stores, to being a new products machine serving the mass market and achieving global sales.
• IBM went from making mainframes and PCs to systems consulting.
Every one of these growth changes required changes in the executive mindset.

Your role also has to change. You need to be working on your business instead of in your business. And you need to understand that growth doesn’t happen in a straight line but comes in a series of growth curves. To go from one growth curve to another requires change in how senior executives think about their business and themselves.

Many entrepreneurs cause their business to stall and stop growing precisely because they do not change their role. Very few executives are able to grow a small business into a Fortune 1000 business because they do not understand the need to change themselves. The very smart ones either make the personal changes (like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Tom Golisano) or step aside and hire someone to take the company on its next growth phase.

Winston Churchill said, “Those who cannot change their minds never change anything.”

Where are you in your current growth curve? What will it take to get on the next growth curve?
You have to be thinking differently and bigger.

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 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 http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com

 

Dramatically Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness — Part Two

I’ve been asked what key changes executives need to make in order to have a quantum leap in their effectiveness. What’s interesting about the question is that the answer has little to do with most of the things executives work on to be more effective – tactical things like better managing time, improving specific leadership skills, adopting a new leadership style, etc. All those are good and important, but the really powerful changes have to do with two fundamental and strategic mindset changes.

Last week I covered the first one: Letting go of things that are not important to your current position. Here’s the second fundamental mindset change:

Fundamental Change #2: Change your dominant thought pattern. How you frame your everyday mindset will determine your behaviors and actions. For example, being a pessimist produces vastly different priorities, actions, and results than begin an optimist. Thinking in terms of cutting costs produces vastly different results than thinking in terms of profitable growth. You choose your mental frame and that influences your actions, your employees’ actions, and business results.

Here’s the key: As a rule, you need to be thinking big

It’s very important that you change your self-talk. You have to be optimistic, growth-oriented, focused much less on problems and far more on opportunities. Opportunities to grow the business, opportunities to delight customers, opportunities to get your employees and the organization excited and energized. Yes, problem-solving is important, but it is tactical and best left to your competent operations people – it is not the best way to spend YOUR time. You need to be operating at the level of a leader. Be optimistic, growth-oriented, and positive; focus on where you want to take your company and the strategy to make it happen; in short, lead your organization.

In summary, there are two fundamental changes you need to make in yourself to dramatically improve your leadership: First, let go of the things that are not your job. Second, change your self-talk to be positive and growth-oriented. If you do those, you will be a leader in behavior and action, not just in your title., and you will position yourself and your business for profitable growth.

What will you do, specifically, to make these changes?

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 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 http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com

 

 

Are Your People Becoming Obsolete?

One of the dangers to both employees and companies these days, particularly in small to medium-size companies, is that there tends to be insufficient emphasis on continuous learning. The manager or production supervisor or engineer or even IT person are hard at work year after year solving problems and making improvements inside their company. Yet, unless there is a concerted effort to keep up with advancements outside of the company, they are putting themselves, and the company, in jeopardy.

When the company suddenly needs to change because of market disruption, technological innovation, or the like, those people who have been so valuable in the past can become obstacles to needed change. By then it’s usually too late to catch-up as people with the needed new skills are brought in to take the company to the next level.
I’ve seen this happen far too many times.

While it’s true that individuals need to make sure they are keeping their skills up to date, companies also need to be responsible to ensure that external trends are monitored and knowledge and skills are continually updated.

Ask yourselves these kinds of questions:

  • What trends do we see in our markets, our technologies, and the overall economy that could be indicators of change?
  • What one big change would make our business obsolete?
  • Are our people regularly bringing in new ideas from the outside?

Essential Steps for a High Return on People

Most organizations devote a lot more time and money on weak performers than they do on top performers. They think that by investing in the lowest performing people, they will improve overall company performance.

You wouldn’t do that with a portfolio of products or stocks, so why do it with your organization?

To improve your return on people, do the following:

1. Identify your best performers and make sure that they get the support and opportunities they crave. Help them contribute in even better ways that affect greater and more extensive parts of the business.

2. Identify those people with the potential to be excellent performers and provide them with the coaching, mentoring and focused development that will enable them to develop and become superb.

3. Stop investing so much time and money in weak performers. Instead, give them very clear performance expectations and deadlines. If they need specific training to be competent, give it to them, but measure whether the training actually resulted in better performance.

Also, if a manager is one of the weak performers, look to see if his/her direct reports have had any development opportunities – chances are they haven’t. Stop letting the weak manager hold people back.

Put your investment where you will get the highest return — in the best and those with the potential to be successful. Have clear performance expectations for everyone and the right processes to address poor performers when needed.

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 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 http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob.legge (at) leggecompany.com