Too Busy to Succeed

Most of the leaders and senior executives I work with are grappling with not enough time in the day.  They are running hard trying to stay on top of key issues, but it’s affecting their work effectiveness and personal lives.  They need a way to focus on the issues and tasks that are most important and jettison the rest. 

This is particularly true for:

  • Executives newly promoted to leadership roles
  • Executives taking on significantly more responsibility, or
  • Leaders whose companies are going into rapid growth phases, undergoing significant change (think merger/acquisition or technology-driven change.)

For nearly all of them, I have helped them gain between six and eight hours per week.  The process is a combination of understanding how they are using time, using a better way to manage their time, and creating blocks of discretionary time.

What would an extra six to eight hours every week mean for you?

The Executive’s Quick Guide to Coaching Functional Managers

If you listen to the business press, you might come away thinking that developing people is all about culture. The message is something like: ‘leaders don’t grow people, they create the conditions within which people grow’.

No doubt, the conditions/culture are important, but don’t neglect how important it is for you to do one-on-one coaching. Every one of your direct reports manages an area that is important to your business success. Even if you don’t fully understand their work as well as they do, you can still coach them on a range of topics.

One of the most important topics is a thorough understanding of the business strategy and how their functional areas play a key role in its success. This is fundamental to organization alignment.

Another important coaching topic is a whole-business mindset. Each manager sees the business through his/her own functional filter. Don’t let them work in functional isolation. Make sure their objectives support the business, not just their functions.

One of the best ways to jump-start this is through your strategic planning sessions.

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

Do You Have Enough Discretionary Time?

C-level executives must have discretionary time to work on the tasks that are most important to the company. These include such tasks as strategy, organization direction, communication, and people development. All this requires time to think.

Yet, finding discretionary time can be difficult when everyone wants some of your time and there’s not enough room in your schedule for all the meetings others want you to attend. You cannot do it all, and if you try to do it all, you won’t be doing your job and you won’t have a healthy work-life balance.

There is no simple solution – it depends greatly on the individual executive’s situation. What I’ve found helpful in my work with senior-level executives is first an appreciation for the difference between how an executive thinks time is spent and the actual use of time. That’s a good beginning.

Time is a resource. It needs to be prioritized. And time to think is also a value. I’ve heard that in Japan people will interrupt if you are busy, but will not interrupt if you are thinking. The opposite is more prevalent here. (It’s not very easy to pick-up where you left off if your thinking is interrupted.)

When you have sufficient discretionary time, your performance, your contribution to the enterprise, and your work-life balance will all improve.

Do you have enough discretionary time to perform at the level of your position? If not, what are you doing to about it? Contact me for suggestions.

How Successful Executives Demonstrate a Strategic Perspective

An important challenge any successful executive needs to master is the transition from an operational project focus to a strategic focus. That’s not to say that projects aren’t important (they are.) Executives will contribute to identifying and prioritizing key projects, but leading projects is the task of operational positions.

Here’s how mature executives demonstrate a strategic perspective:

  • Exhibiting a very good sense of how the business operates including how value is created, the economic drivers of success, and what costs are most important to monitor and control.
  • Showing longer-term thinking and not narrowly focused on the short-term.
  • Having a functional or divisional strategy that clearly connects to the overall business strategy and goals.
  • Being focused on company needs, policies and priorities, not just his or her own function or division.
  • Clearly reflecting the values of the company in his or her behaviors, decisions, and actions.

Two helpful resources to make this transition to a strategic perspective are a role model and an advisor – both of whom have successfully done it before.

Are you demonstrating a strategic perspective?

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@boblegge.com

Strategy and Growing Your Business

When I see a company year-after-year forecast sizable increases in revenues and profits and regularly miss the forecast I am reminded of Albert Einstein’s admonition about insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

To achieve growth, you need to think differently about your business and do it on a continual basis.

For the past few Mondays I have written about strategic thinking because it is a skill that is required to be an effective executive. And through my experience coaching executives and leaders, I know it is a skill that can be acquired. But like any skill, it needs practice and reinforcement.

By the way, don’t confuse strategic thinking with strategic planning. You may plan once a year, but strategic thinking needs to be happening regularly throughout the year.

Can your strategic thinking be sharpened? How about the strategic thinking skills of your executives? Do you have a regular process to identify strategic insights?

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@boblegge.com

Are You Discovering Enough Strategic Insights?

Nearly every company has experienced a period of prolonged financial difficulty. Growth does not occur in a straight line, but rather in a series of growth curves similar to product lifecycle curves where growth accelerates, then slows and levels off.

The challenge is to anticipate the slow-down and get onto a new growth curve before the plateau. Once on a plateau, it is difficult to see a new growth curve. Better to anticipate it first.

But what causes a growth curve to slow in the first place? The vast majority of growth plateaus or stall points are caused not by economic downturns, but rather by poor strategic choices the most prevalent of which is continuing to ride one strategy as if it will last a long time, and getting solely focused on day-to-day operations. When that happens you get blind-sided by market disruptions caused by market or technical innovations or entirely new business models.

It is the responsibility of leaders and executives to take the lead in thinking strategically about the business. The best companies implement an ongoing strategic process to continually surface strategic insights on a regular basis. It’s not a once-a-year event, but rather a disciplined and regular focus. Monthly is good. Amazon does it weekly.

That is the way to spot early-on impending growth slow-downs, plateaus, and stall-points.

What is your process for continually surfacing strategic insights? Are you able to make adjustments to business strategy, not just operational decisions? How good are your strategic thinking skills, and are you continually sharpening them?

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@boblegge.com

Learning to Think Strategically

Newly-promoted executives face a number of significant challenges as they adapt to an executive role. One of the most significant is the ability to think strategically.

In my 30 years of working with executives, it is rare that a new executive has that skill. Even among executives with years of experience relatively few are good at thinking strategically because they have built their careers on being good at operations.

Of course, operational excellence is extremely important, but so is keeping an eye on the external environment and that is a key role for any executive.

My point: Relatively few executives are skilled in thinking strategically.

The ability to think strategically is important for the entire management team, not just the top leader. You need all executives to develop strategic insights from their various perspectives and disciplines as input to business strategy.

Are you providing your executive team with development programs aimed at honing strategic thinking skills?

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@boblegge.com