Why You Need to Talk With Employees

A leader needs to keep in touch with customers because a business’ real value is realized on the outside. 

But it’s just as important to keep in touch with employees.  Get out of your office, talk to people individually and in groups, find out what’s working, what’s not working, what’s getting in their way of being as effective and productive as they’d like to be. 

Only by doing this will you hear things that otherwise would not make it to your office.  You’ll hear good ideas and key trends to give you a better understanding than relying solely on internal reporting.  Quality issues and improvement ideas, workplace problems and suggestions, and even hints of harassment can be surfaced this way.  Consider your employee contact as part of an early warning system.

It’s also an opportunity for you to reinforce your leadership messaging.  You can answer questions, provide background for decisions, and ask people what they are doing that day to act on key priorities.

Build employee contact into your weekly schedule.

Why Effective Leaders Don’t Have Cluttered Desks

I used to wonder why it was that when I visit well-respected leaders their desks are clear of clutter. In most cases, there are only one or a few folders on their desks. And although scheduling time with them was often somewhat difficult, they never seemed in a frantic rush to get through the meeting and on to other things.

It turns out that effective leaders are very good at two things:

First, they identify the top few things that they must do that day and disregard all the rest. The next day, they do it again. There is no long to-do list — just 1-3 tasks that they will focus on each day. All the other things are pushed aside and abandoned because they don’t make it to the top.

The second thing they do is tackle one task at a time. They do not multi-task. Because they work at a constant pace, tackling one task, then another, they get better results than the leaders who try to multi-task.

As I tell my clients, move one thing forward a mile instead of many things forward an inch.

When you focus on the one most important task, you can have a clutter-free desk. There is no need for the distraction of heaps of papers or files.

Try it.

The Transition Every Executive Must Make

Last week I was in Rhode Island where Autumn is beginning to take hold. It got me thinking about transitions and especially the transition that any new executive must make to shift from an operational perspective to a broader business-wide perspective.

When you become a senior leader, you have to change the way you think about both your role and the business. Senior leaders who don’t do this will be ineffective at best, and fail at worse.

Operational management is focused on getting sales, improving processes, and internal performance on a number of measures. But senior executives must be concerned with the business. And the position challenges are very different as a senior leader. You have to be concerned with how to grow the business, how to increase competitive advantage, how to provide a return that is better than the cost of capital, how to sustain profitability, and so on.

Those challenges require a different, more strategic perspective on the business, and new skills, not the least of which is how best to use your time.

As a senior leader, you need competent people to handle operations so that you have time to focus on overall business challenges.

The success of the business depends on you making this transition. But it’s not easy because the temptation is to get involved with operational issues and decisions – where you likely feel comfortable and have been successful in the past.

And importantly, you are in a position where you can feel very much isolated and alone facing key decisions for which you are fully accountable.

I have had significant success working with senior executives on this transition and the many other singular issues facing senior executives. If you, or another executive in your organization, want to make faster, surer progress, contact me. I’d welcome the opportunity to talk and explore how we could work together.

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

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