Powerful Ideas to Improve Your Leadership

From many years of coaching executives, here are five pointers for becoming a better leader:IMG_4487

  1. Hire people who are better than you in their discipline; not subordinates.
  2. Focus yourself on key priorities — move a few things forward a mile rather than a lot of things forward an inch.
  3. Focus your people on results; not activities.
  4. Demand commitment; not compliance.
  5. Encourage and reward open, honest, and insightful thinking; not going with the flow.
  6. Expect people to fail now and then. Mistakes are part of learning.

© Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

~~~~~

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

What’s Your Point?

Many people tell me that they like my On the Same Page emails because they are brief, to-the-point, and practical.  I try to do the same thing when I speak.  Because I learned some time ago that the very best leaders I’ve worked with don’t need a lot of words — they express their thoughts effectively and confidently by being terse.  In comparison, I see people in meetings get long-winded, going off on tangents, telling stories, or even repeating what they say.

I’ve found that the longer one talks, the less they actually communicate.   That’s either because their message gets lost in all the words, or they don’t really know what their message is.

When you’re clear about your message, you are able to say it briefly.  Work on this for yourself and for your team.  It will help make meetings shorter and more effective.  A tip:  Ask, “What’s your point?”

© Copyright 2016  Bob Legge

~~~~~

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

Improving Management Development

David Ogilve, the advertising guru, once noted that half the money spent on advertising is wasted; the problem being that no one knows which half.  The same could be said of training, although I suspect that perhaps as much as 90% of training is wasted.  And unlike advertising, we can know what training is wasted — it’s the training that doesn’t transfer to the workplace.

Management training in particular is fraught with this anomaly.  Time and again I’ve seen companies spend a lot of money on supervisor training with little to show for it.  Even though all the participants are grateful for the opportunity to attend the training, and they come back with glowing reviews of the instructor and the course, very few of what is taught results in improved performance.

Some years ago a study compared the various ways of developing executives and managers and looked at the resulting improvements in performance.  What they concluded was that the very best development experiences happened when participants worked on real business problems in their own companies.  Not only did they solve real problems, but they also learned a lot, all of which they could use on the job.

The bottom line is that putting people to work on real problems, with the time to do it and some good guidance, will give you a far better return on investment than sending everyone off to the next public seminar.  Think about it.

© Copyright 2016  Bob Legge

~~~~~

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

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

~~~~~

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

~~~~~

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

How to Achieve Leadership Power and Influence

If you want to establish strong leadership power and influence, learn what it means to establish “referent” power.   It is far more effective than power based on position, title, or the ability to reward or punish.  (The only other kind of leadership power that is almost as effective is being an acknowledged expert in a relevant subject.)  Referent power comes from people believing in you because of your honesty, your genuine interest in working with and developing people, having a clear vision and strategy for moving an organization forward, and a track record of not misleading people.  Referent power is characterized by a high level of trust and respect.

You can establish referent power and influence through consistent intent and behaviors.  And just as communication occurs in the receiver of communications (not the sender,) referent power is manifest in the hearts and minds of followers — it cannot be imposed by the leader.  And that is its strength.

Cultivate Leadership Talent

My wife has a large garden which produces an abundance of vegetables we eat throughout the year — we still have garlic, beans, hot peppers, and frozen veggies like peas, corn and zucchini, all from last year.  Recently, she has been planting seeds for this year’s garden.  Seeds are truly amazing.  And while they having the potential to grow and produce in abundance, they do best under the right conditions:  The good soil, regular watering, and removing weeds that interfere with healthy growth.

Similarly, planting the seeds for developing leaders requires cultivation for success.  Sending a person to a seminar or conference isn’t nearly enough.  What’s good leadership cultivation?  Providing the skills and knowledge needed to be successful at whatever the next level is for a person, having regular opportunities to learn and be challenged, and individual mentoring and coaching to get stronger and avoid pitfalls.

Make sure your “leadership garden” provides the right support and ongoing cultivation to grow the talent you need today and in the future.