Three Imperatives of Profitable Growth

From over 30 years of working with organizations of all sizes and in many industries on improving business outcomes especially growth and profits:

  1. The most valuable part is having a plan that focuses on both distinctive strategy and operational excellence.
  2. The hardest part is sticking to the plan by following-up on performance commitments including position accountabilities, projects, and key operating measures.
  3. The chief downfall is not aligning the organization with plan. Successful companies have one plan with everyone understanding their role in getting results.  Also-rans may have a plan, but they let organizational functions and departments do their own thing.

© 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

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

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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

I Don’t Want to Hear “Hopefully”

The foundation of accountability is commitment.

When one is committed to accomplishing something, the hesitation and fear are replaced by resolve and energy.   When one is not committed, they tend to produce long stories and excuses.

During one of my senior executive stints, a manager who reported to me had a standard reply when I asked when a task or result would be completed.  She would say, “Hopefully….”   She was not committed, nor was she accountable.

Sometimes a person will say, “I cannot be accountable for that because I don’t have full control over it.”  He or she is confusing being accountable with being in control.  Hardly anyone is fully in control:  A sales person does not have full control over buyers buying, but they are still accountable for the result.  A manufacturing manager does not have full control over efficiencies or safety, but is still accountable for both.  The challenge of accountability is to take whatever actions are necessary (within the values of the organization) to get the result.

Accountability is being answerable for results.  Responsibility is being answerable for actions and behaviors.  Both rest on commitment.

© Copyright 2016  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

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

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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

When Poor Performance is Caused by the Boss

When analyzing a performance problem, I’ve found it often pays to look at the supervisor or manager and how they manage their people.  Examples:

  • Micromanaging
  • Unclear or no accountabilities
  • Weak communications
  • A lack of performance standards
  • Ineffective or no key processes
  • No performance reviews
  • No performance plans
  • Not addressing performance problems
  • Not addressing development needs
  • Gaps or overlaps in accountability
  • Consistently hiring the wrong people, and so on.

In fact, it’s astounding how often it’s the boss who is enabling performance problems, and with some help, he or she can significantly improve the performance of an individual, a department, a division, or even a company.  Many  times the boss is not aware that this is happening and is very receptive to guidance or coaching.

Do you have supervisors or managers who can be more effective?  What are you doing to help them?

© Copyright 2016  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

The Key Difference Between Bureaucracy and High-Performance

Of the things high performers hate most, bureaucratic organizations are in second place (weak supervisors are first.)  The key difference between bureaucracies and high-performance organizations is how they value both process and results.  Bureaucracies value processes not results.  High-performance organizations value both processes and results.  They value results because that is what furthers their mission.  But they also value process because it drives sustainable and repeatable results.

The corollary is Peter Drucker’s quote that effective leaders focus on doing the right things while managers focus on doing things right.

What does your leadership and organization value?

Should You Fit the Job to the Person, or the Person to the Job?

When I work with a client on organization structure, the question often comes up:  “Should we design the job around the person we have, or design the organization structure and job first and then find the right person to fill the role?
The answer is not always simple, but here are two rules of thumb that can help:

  • Be clear about what results are required from the position, then assess whether the person has what it takes to successfully deliver those results.  Don’t change the results in an attempt to fit a person into the role.

Remember that we all have strengths and weaknesses.  It is the strengths that we are primarily concerned with as long as the weaknesses don’t interfere with overall performance.  Peter Drucker said to manage people for their strengths and make their weaknesses irrelevant.  If you can do that, and the strengths fit the job, then go for it.