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
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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

 

The One Thing Most Leaders Don’t Know About Culture Change

When planning any sort of culture change, be aware that culture change often has an impact on customers and vendors.  This is particularly true when making a strategic change in the business such as making an acquisition or making changes to get on a new growth curve.  Develop a compelling message for those outside your organization, one that fully reinforces what you are doing inside the organization.

For example, several companies I am currently working with are narrowing their strategies to be more distinctive, and to strongly focus their resources (and take full competitive advantage) of what needs to drive their businesses forward.  In every case, these changes in strategy also creates new demands on vendors and increased benefits for their customers.  The need for good messaging goes well beyond employee focus to include vendors and customers.

© 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

The Key Difference Between Bureaucracy and High-Performance

Of the things high performers hate most, bureaucratic organizations are in second place (weak supervisors are first.)  The key difference between bureaucracies and high-performance organizations is how they value both process and results.  Bureaucracies value processes not results.  High-performance organizations value both processes and results.  They value results because that is what furthers their mission.  But they also value process because it drives sustainable and repeatable results.

The corollary is Peter Drucker’s quote that effective leaders focus on doing the right things while managers focus on doing things right.

What does your leadership and organization value?

Apple’s Values Drive Their Business — Do Yours?

I watched a Charlie Rose interview with Joni Ives last week.  Ives is the now legendary head of design for Apple — the guy who worked so closely with Steve Jobs and designed all the winning Apple products beginning with the iMac and including the iPhone.  That interview is well worth watching.

The part that really struck me was Ives describing how their corporate values really drive everything they do at a deep, fundamental, almost mystical level.  Like other companies that are truly driven by values, their values are about what they are striving to accomplish.  Here are three:

  • We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products
  • We believe in the simple, not the complex
  • We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make

These are not the standard values that most companies have, you know, values like honest, teamwork, integrity, etc.  Those values are a given.  Rather, the values are about the work they do and what makes them unique.

Think about it.  If you were to develop of list of the values that truly should drive your business, your strategy, and the way you operate, what would they be?

What to do with a weak change sponsor

Successful organization change requires a number of factors.  Perhaps the most important is sponsorship — the clear and continual reinforcement of the change message by the top leader, and all other leaders throughout the organization.  No matter how supportive people at lower levels are in the change, if the leaders aren’t legitimizing and reinforcing the change with strong sponsorship, the chances of the change failing are high.

So what can you do if a change sponsor isn’t demonstrating strong sponsorship?  There are three choices:  Teach the sponsor to be effective, replace the sponsor, or get ready for the change to fail.

© 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

Why Leaders Need Objective Feedback

An executive I began coaching shared a concern that people did not participate in meetings.  When I sat in to observe, the problem was readily apparent:  He would frequently interrupt people to interject his ideas, dismiss suggestions with “we’ve tried that,” or “that won’t work,” and dominate the meeting with his talk.  While he thought he was creating a ‘dynamic and productive atmosphere’ clearly it shut-down good input.

No one in his organization is going to tell him that he was overbearing and the reason why people didn’t participate, because they were afraid of the consequences.  I could tell him because I was there to give him direct and candid feedback — something many CEOs and executives simply won’t get from their people.

What mechanism do you have to provide objective feedback to you?

© 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

For Best Organizational Performance, Don’t Benchmark

Benchmarking is a tried-and-true approach for operational processes, but it should not be used to determine how best to structure or lead an organization.  Yeah, I know, finding out what Google and Apple and Zappos do is all the rage, but when it comes to organization design and leadership practices, there’s no evidence that copying what other firms do improves results.  Skip the off-the-shelf solutions and focus instead on these:

  • Your company’s strategic imperatives
  • What your organization needs to do extremely well to execute the strategy
  • The 20% of processes that drive 80% of your value
  • The kinds of talent you need, particularly in key positions
  • And the structure that will best leverage the organization’s capabilities to deliver the strategy.

A flexible operating model is by far the most important attribute to capitalize on strengths and seize new opportunities.

How well is your organization delivering for you?

Practical Tips for Successful Organization Restructuring

Practical Tips for Successful Organization Restructuring
If you’re doing an acquisition, merging, wanting to be more market or customer-focused, or restructuring to cut costs, the last thing you want to do is shuffle boxes and lines.  I learned early in my career, and it’s been borne out over the years working with organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, that with redesigns, there are three enormous traps:

  1. Relying on gut instinct to do the redesign
  2. Letting politics drive redesign decisions
  3. Seeing only lines, boxes and reporting relationships as what is important.

Instead, make sure that you understand the current organization’s strengths and the cause of any limitations.  Have specific design criteria based  on your longer-term strategy — not on fixing current problems.  And be sure to consider the impact of people, accountability, and culture, on how the redesign will work.

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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, 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

 

3 Keys to Increasing Innovation

There’s a lot of talk about innovation these days.  Much of it is academic and lacks practical application.  Here are three important tactics from my work helping companies become more innovative.

  1. Focus more on the work environment than on finding highly innovative people. The reason?  If the environment and management are not conducive to innovation, innovation simply won’t happen, even with star innovators.  They’ll feel stifled, frustrated, and then probably leave for a better environment.  So the first key is to create an environment where innovation is valued and where management provides the freedom to fail.  Any environment where people are highly defensive, blaming others, and getting micro-managed, will not be innovative.
  2. Reward behaviors, not results. It may be counterintuitive, but with innovation don’t incent results; instead, reward behaviors.  Highlight people who are innovating — make them role models, let others see successful examples.  Consider celebrating the best ideas that didn’t work.
  3. Fail fast. Use prototyping.  Never ever pick one idea, invest heavily in fully developing it and then launch it.  That’s a proven way to lose your shirt.  Instead move forward a few ideas then they are undeveloped, but with good potential.  Run with them and get each one to grow or fail quickly. That way good ideas can grow, but you limit both risk and cost.

Make Your Strategy Sessions More Engaging

Strategy should be exciting, challenging, and stimulating.  It should elicit the very best thinking of your key people, get the creative juices flowing, build enthusiasm, and get them on the same page.  Here are some ideas I’ve used to build excitement and involvement:

  1. Plan to plan.  Build anticipation with a series of key questions and provocative readings.  What is happening in our industry and why?  Where’s it going next?  What should we be doing three years from now that is very different from what we’re doing now?
  2. Be clear about expectations.  Create a high bar for what is expected from planning participants. Simply attending and listening ain’t enough — you want ideas and passion from each and every person.
  3. Plan a fast-paced, focused, and practical agenda.  Go at the speed of your best people — not the speed of the slowest.  Set the pace and run fast.  You’ll be surprised how everyone wakes up.
  4. Use assignments, exercises, and techniques to get the group working together to formulate the strategy, assess the implementation necessary, and plan the execution.  They’ll have to work together to create the strategy, so get them to create it and commit to it together.  Stop the piecemeal approach where each one takes their part of the plan and works on it independently.
  5. Get involvement from people deeper in the organization.  Bring in some hot-shots, some innovators, and thought challengers.  It’s a great way to add new blood and provide excellent development.

For more ideas on injecting greater enthusiasm, key thinking, and creativity into your planning, give me a call.  I’d love to hear what you’re doing and give you fresh ideas.