Leading for Results

The most important reason to be an effective leader is to help the group achieves its goals.  Not for the status, or the power, but the results. 

So today, find ten minutes to review what those results are and identify the relatively few actions that will have the greatest affect on the group achieving those results with minimal time and resources. 

Then focus your time on just one of those activities each day this week.  Each day ask key people a few simple questions: “What is going well with Activity A?”  “What’s getting in the way of getting it done?” and “How can we best focus on getting it done faster and better?”

Remember that your role is to lead, to set the direction, and ask key questions that keep the organization focused.  It’s your organization’s role to answer the questions and implement solutions.  That’s why it’s so important to develop your organization.

Learning from Facebook executive departures

The departures of key executives from Facebook last week are the latest over the past 18 months.  They highlight a number of key lessons in strategy and strategy implementation:

  1. Leaders must make the key decisions.  While leaders will look for input from others on decisions, it is the leader who has ultimate accountability for corporate direction and success. Leaders make tough decisions.  The leader who leads by consensus isn’t leading at all.  The Facebook executives who left disagreed with Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s strategic turn.
  2. Companies can outgrow key people.  I see this regularly in all size organizations.  The person who is the franchise player for years, eventually becomes an impediment to the organization’s evolution, innovation, and growth.  This presents a difficult decision — one that is often ignored or deferred.  In Facebook’s case, these senior executives no doubt walked away with significant packages.  For a smaller company, the transition is far more difficult, but no less necessary.
  3. Sometimes a company needs to make a very significant change in their strategy to survive and grow.  Facebook is under enormous pressure to change its business model.  For many other companies, the pressure to change is not so intense, but the need to change course is important.

A capable leader, a distinctive strategy and an organization intensely focused on the strategy are the three hallmarks of success. 

Where do you need to make improvements?

Time to Clean House?

Computers get bogged-down over time as programs take more and more memory.

Similarly, organization structures and processes get bogged-down by the ongoing addition of policies, procedures, and rules.  Almost always these new rules are designed to make work easier for one group, but the result of all departments adding rules is an overall slow-down.

It’s a good idea to periodically put every meeting, report, and staff process on trial for their lives.  Do they add value?  Is the benefit greater than the cost? 

This doesn’t have to be done all at once.  For example, take the usual reports distributed every month and ask the people receiving them if they get any value from them.  Then stop doing any that don’t add value.

Clear-out your old files and optimize your operating system.

Copyright 2019  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 www.boblegge.com

How to Stop Circular Discussions about Decisions

One of the ways that meetings can be both frustrating and inefficient is when participants are faced with a situation and are going around and around debating alternative solutions.

I’ve found it’s very helpful to remember that decision making has three components: 

  • The objectives or results desired
  • Alternative options to achieve the objectives, and
  • Risks inherent in the alternatives.

When faced with a problem, people often skip the objectives and jump right to the alternatives and get mired in the pros and cons.   At that point, it’s best to interrupt the discussion and get clear on the objectives or desired results.  Usually, that moves the entire decision process along.

Copyright 2019  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 www.boblegge.com

How to Improve Accountability

The word “accountability” can have a lot of negative connotations for people, including managers.  In most cases, that’s because they either don’t understand accountability, or had a bad experience with a boss who used accountability as a cudgel. 

It doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s not that people don’t want to be accountable.  It’s that they don’t want to get belittled or punished.  In companies where accountability is strong, people feel the opposite.  They feel energized and empowered.

When a company has weak accountability, there are usually three key attributes at work:

  • First, the concept of accountability has not been well-defined.
  • Second, there is no clear system of accountability.
  • Third, there exists distrust about how accountability will be managed.

And given all three, there can be a high level of resistance to accountability.

Yet, in highly productive organizations, employees find accountability to be energizing and motivating.

Here are the keys:

  1. Accountability has a strong focus on results, not activities.
  2. Management sets direction with clear priorities defined by a few objectives and targeted results.
  3. Employees have significant freedom to determine how to achieve objectives.
  4. Managers know how to both validate results, and productively address situations where performance is lagging.

Copyright 2019  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 www.boblegge.com

The Art of Leadership

Last week I was in Chicago and visited the world’s largest and most respected maker of fine stringed instruments, William Harris Lee & Company. They make violins, cellos, and other instruments for professional musicians worldwide. Bill Lee started out making violins himself in 1978 and has grown the business becoming a highly-successful entrepreneur.

As I visited their various workrooms I couldn’t help but think of the art involved in creation of these fine instruments as well as the art of using the instruments to create the highest levels of fine music. I thought too of Peter Drucker’s notion of an orchestra conductor as a metaphor for a leader.

Like conductors, leaders need to know where they want to take their organizations. They know the strategy (the score) and the tempo and the dynamics of what to emphasize. They rely on each performer to know their jobs better than anyone else, including the leader.

The ‘art’ of leadership is bringing together highly-talented individuals, conducting the overall strategy, and having the skill to help them excel individually and to achieve collectively more than they thought possible. It requires a set of leadership skills as well as a body of specialized, technical, and managerial knowledge.

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