New Senior Leaders Must Change These to be Effective

These Have to Change When You Become an Executive Leader
When a person is promoted to a leadership position as a CEO, COO, president, or senior executive there are three primary competencies that must change to be effective:

  1. Strategic-level perspective and thinking — Only by elevating one’s perspective to include the entire enterprise (or the part the executive leads) can the leader address the most important tasks and focus the organization on the right things.
  2. The skills needed to lead at a high level — Such skills include strategic planning, strategy communication and implementation, delegation and accountability, change leadership all become far more important.
  3. How time is allocated — Determining how to spend time is perhaps the most difficult.  Senior leaders need to spend their time on the things only they can do — not what others can do — and be both highly efficient and ruthless in guarding their time, especially for reflection.  Move a  few things a mile instead of many things an inch.

As a senior leader, how are you doing on these key competencies?

Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

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Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust.  He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years.  Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family. .

Contact him at:   bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

Top 7 Obstacles Getting in the Way of Your Strategy

Over the past 30 years, I’ve worked on strategy and strategy execution with the senior management of Fortune 1000 companies, mid-market companies, and Inc 5000 companies.  In all that time, and across all industries and size of companies, these eight obstacles to achieving strategic goals stand out as the ones I most often work with senior management to overcome.  (Not in any particular order.)

  1. Lack of Accountability.  You need people who know the ongoing results expected of them and who can be relied on to get those results all the time.  It is a cultural problem and an individual person problem to begin with.  If it continues, it is a management problem.
  2. Employees who don’t act like owners.  You need people who are focused on results; common values, and who reflect both in their everyday behaviors.  I can understand why a particular employee may not want to do that, but I do not understand leaders who allow it to continue.  Some of the solution is on leaders to provide the right environment, treat people respectfully, and weed out those who don’t fully contribute.  The rest of the solution is on individuals and the volition to be involved.
  3. The business strategy is unclear (or non-existent.)  Having an action plan is not the same as having a strategy.  High performers need to know where you’re taking the company, not just what actions and results are expected of them everyday.
  4. The organization structure gets in the way.  In general, your organization should be designed around the few processes that drive the most value, not functions or fiefdoms.  The worst is when an organization structure decision, or “work-around” is made to accommodate a weak player.
  5. Key competencies are weak or missing.  Skills, capabilities, and talent drives value.  That includes leadership.  You cannot overcome deficiencies in this area by ignoring them.
  6. Plans and metrics are not aligned with the strategy.  You need an organization that is sharply-focused on driving the strategic objectives in a collaborative and aligned way.  There is no such thing as independent functions; if you have them, get rid of them.
  7. A sub-optimal mindset.  A success mindset, especially at the top, is imperative.  Every one of your key players, in management and throughout the organization, needs to have a confident, optimistic, determined mindset.  Anything else is an energy-sapper and time-waster.

How many of these are you experiencing?

Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

___________________________

Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust.  He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years.  Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family. .

Contact him at:   bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Professional race car drivers have their eyes well down the track in anticipation and readiness.  So do the very best equestrians who immediately upon completing one jump will be looking at the next jump even though it’s not where their horse is currently headed.   And, of course, the quote attributed to Wayne Gretzky is that he skates where the puck will be, not where it is.

The same is true of senior leaders — you need to be focused largely on where you are taking your company.  If you’re consuming your time on today’s needs and challenges, you need to change your perspective, use of time, and skills.  Those are three important competencies I work with senior leaders to improve.  You have managers and skilled talent to execute operating plans and handle problems; your focus needs to be on where your enterprise is heading, the obstacles to get there, and how the organization will need to adapt.

On a scale of 1-10, where 10 means full attention to the organization’s strategic destination, how would you rate yourself?  What do you need to do to improve your future focus?

Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

___________________________

Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust.  He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years.  Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family. .

Contact him at:   bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

Take a Lesson From The Beatles

In 1966, The Beatles decided not to tour or do live concerts anymore.  They made the decision primarily because they did not feel they were growing, evolving.  When they played a concert, they played the same songs, and most of the time couldn’t even hear themselves play.  So they stopped and explored and, of course, the result was enormous growth and influence including Sgt. Peppers, the white album, Abbey Road and others.

I have seen managers and leaders at all levels and in all functions fall behind even though they once were the shining stars of their companies.  You must keep investing in yourself.  Living the same year over and over is standing still.  Companies get surpassed; so do individuals.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

Challenge yourself to learn and grow.  Do what the Beatles did and focus more on your own development.

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What are you doing about this?  If you’re serious about taking yourself to a higher level, maybe it’s time for more challenge, stimulation, and reward.  Give me a call — we’ll talk about the options.

Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

___________________________

Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust.  He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years.  Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family. .

Contact him at:   bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

When Development Stalls at the Top

The need to continually develop knowledge and skills is important throughout an organization.  You’ve got to have people who are capable of handling new and bigger challenges in all aspects of the business.  If they stall, thinking that being competent today is going to be enough for tomorrow, they’ll get relegated to lesser roles and more knowledgeable and experienced people will be brought in over them.  I see it happening over and over again.

It’s particularly troubling, when development stalls at the top of an organization.  When senior leaders neglect to invest in themselves, it creates a mini-crisis.  Often times, the situation continues on indefinitely, hurting the organization’s performance, position in the market, and reputation with employees.  No high-performer wants to work for boss who isn’t keeping up and is unable to lead, challenge, and stimulate the organization.

What are you doing to invest in your own knowledge and skills?

I offer executive coaching and selected invitation-only leadership experiences for senior executives who are successful, and want to stay up-to-speed.  If you are interested in learning more, contact me.

Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

___________________________

Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust.  He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years.  Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family. .

Contact him at:   bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

How’s the Climate in Your Organization?

Back before culture surveys, attitude surveys, and engagement surveys, we used to have climate surveys, which were a way to measure the “climate” in an organization.  I find it to be a useful term and different from the others.  Culture is about values and behaviors, attitudes are in peoples’ heads, and engagement is about involvement, but climate is about energy — how much energy is available and used in an organization.

Organizations require constant energy to maintain a high level of performance.  The source of new energy is ideas and information; without them, entropy, or disorder, increases.  That is similar to the second law of thermodynamics — without new ideas and information, the energy available to do work will decrease or stay the same.

There are six key sources of energy in organizations:

  1. Competitive strategy.  The firm’s competitive strategy and the plan to achieve it should be energizing.
  2. Leadership. The direction, connection, and communication required to move the organization forward.
  3. Alignment.  The degree to which the organization performs as a whole.
  4. Management at every level.  Effective management techniques to improve strategy execution by generating and focusing the energy people bring.
  5. Job and Work Satisfaction.  The satisfaction and elation of making progress and achieving individual and organizational objectives.
  6. New people.  Who bring with them fresh perspectives and new ideas.

How’s the climate in your organization?  Does your climate need to change?  Could it use a boost?  What are you doing to actively improve the energy and drive within your organization?

© Copyright 2017  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

Senior Management Incentives in the News

Strategic incentives are a good idea at the top.  But getting everyone one in a large company on the same page is difficult, and it doesn’t always work.  Here are a few current examples:

  • United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz reportedly has $500,000 of his bonus tied to customer satisfaction questionnaires.  You’d hardly know it from the nearly unbelievable physical ejection of a passenger, and United’s follow-up to the incident.  Some background:  In 2010, United began a botched merger with Continental.  In 2012, United had 43% of all airline consumer complaints, and has been a leader in complaints since then.  On January 14, 2016 Bloomberg’s article, “United’s Quest to be Less Awful” was published.  Clearly things have needed to change for a long time.
  • Apple’s Tim Cook made less money last year (only $10 million in salary and bonus!) than the year before.  That reflects the downward trend of the iphone business, which might pick up this year with a redesigned phone.  But Cook isn’t betting on riding the iphone into the future.  As in the past, the company’s prospects are secret, but you can bet they are working hard on innovation and disruption in other industries, continuing the path that Apple has taken throughout its history.  That’s what his focus and challenge is, and what his future bonuses will depend on.
  • Ford Motors’ board wants CEO Mark Fields to accelerate the company’s transformation and profitability beyond SUVs and pickups.  They’ve put into place a $2.5 million “strategic incentive grant” designed to reward both innovation and growth.  He received a reduced bonus last year as revenue and quality slumped.  The board realizes that making the core business more profitable won’t be enough — they need innovative solutions for the future.

Obviously, sometimes incentives get everyone on the same page, and sometimes they don’t.  Even the largest companies can’t seem to nail it, in part because transforming such large companies is a significant challenge.  But significant incentives can provide significant focus at the top.

What kinds of incentives are you using at the top?  Are they operational or strategic?

© 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