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?

The Implementation Advantage


Strategy fails when it’s not implemented well – when it’s not connected to what goes on in people’s jobs day-to-day.  You need to connect it.  And you also want decisions to be made consistent with strategic intent.  Strategy implementation has to be part of the daily fabric of the organization.  It’s not done once a month, it’s not something you do once a week; it must be the daily fabric of the organization.  And, by the way, it doesn’t need to add to day-to-day work.  But it does take smart implementation. 

When you’re ready to launch the strategy, you need to make sure that you’ve got everything ready to go:  Your communications, your top team fully on board, your organization structure and key processes in alignment.

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

3 Leadership Themes for 2019

A quick observation:  My best clients, the ones who get the most value from our work together, take the ideas we discuss and put them into practice instead of thinking about them or dwelling on why they can’t act.  They are also already effective leaders with an ongoing desire to get better and stronger.    

As you go forward this new year, put emphasis on the following:

  • Your vision.  Give your people the “why” behind what drives you and should drive your business.  It can be a vision statement (like Apple) or a rallying cry (like FedEx.)  Make work something more than the day-to-day operations.
  • Your ability to articulate the vision.  Posting a vision statement or values is okay, but the most effective leaders are continually communicating the vision and strategic theme over and over in different ways.
  • Focus.  Keep the organization focused on the few things that really drive value for customers.  All else is added cost.  Organizations have an amazing ability to add complexity, go off on tangents, and get caught-up in policy and procedure.  Simplify and keep your organization sharply-focused.

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


Strategy Isn’t Tactics

Strategy isn’t about starting from today and going forward into the future.  It’s about defining the future you want and working backwards from it to determine how you’re going to get there.  If instead you begin with where you are today and plan to make improvements going forward, what you’re doing isn’t strategic.   It’s operational.  It’s all about tactics and incremental improvement to try to be competitive. 

The best companies don’t want to be competitive, they want to be leading the competition – to be distinctive, to have an edge that provides significant value for their customers, and to make it sustainable so that it cannot be easily replicated. 

So, if you start with something you call ‘strategy’ but which is really operational improvement, you’re simply trying to be competitive –like everyone else.

Why not take the opportunity to think more broadly about your business – to think strategically, and develop a strategy that makes you distinctive, not just competitive.

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 here

Contact me at:  bob@boblegge.com

Are You Discovering Enough Strategic Insights?

Nearly every company has experienced a period of prolonged financial difficulty. Growth does not occur in a straight line, but rather in a series of growth curves similar to product lifecycle curves where growth accelerates, then slows and levels off.

The challenge is to anticipate the slow-down and get onto a new growth curve before the plateau. Once on a plateau, it is difficult to see a new growth curve. Better to anticipate it first.

But what causes a growth curve to slow in the first place? The vast majority of growth plateaus or stall points are caused not by economic downturns, but rather by poor strategic choices the most prevalent of which is continuing to ride one strategy as if it will last a long time, and getting solely focused on day-to-day operations. When that happens you get blind-sided by market disruptions caused by market or technical innovations or entirely new business models.

It is the responsibility of leaders and executives to take the lead in thinking strategically about the business. The best companies implement an ongoing strategic process to continually surface strategic insights on a regular basis. It’s not a once-a-year event, but rather a disciplined and regular focus. Monthly is good. Amazon does it weekly.

That is the way to spot early-on impending growth slow-downs, plateaus, and stall-points.

What is your process for continually surfacing strategic insights? Are you able to make adjustments to business strategy, not just operational decisions? How good are your strategic thinking skills, and are you continually sharpening them?

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

Learning to Think Strategically

Newly-promoted executives face a number of significant challenges as they adapt to an executive role. One of the most significant is the ability to think strategically.

In my 30 years of working with executives, it is rare that a new executive has that skill. Even among executives with years of experience relatively few are good at thinking strategically because they have built their careers on being good at operations.

Of course, operational excellence is extremely important, but so is keeping an eye on the external environment and that is a key role for any executive.

My point: Relatively few executives are skilled in thinking strategically.

The ability to think strategically is important for the entire management team, not just the top leader. You need all executives to develop strategic insights from their various perspectives and disciplines as input to business strategy.

Are you providing your executive team with development programs aimed at honing strategic thinking skills?

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

The First Key to Exponential Growth

If you want exponential growth, you need to have a very clear picture of the business you want to have in the future: What will you be providing? Who will be the customers? How big will the company be? What will be your role? It’s called ‘having a vision.’ It’s not enough to be obsessed with more revenue, fewer problems and more profits. That’s being stuck in the day-to-day. You must think bigger.

Some leaders don’t have such a vision, and that’s a problem. But it’s nearly as bad when the leader does have a vision, but only shares it with key people and the vision never gets communicated to people who sell to customers, make the products, deliver the services, and make things happen on the frontline. If they don’t know where you want to take your company, how can they help make it happen?

If you want growth, you must have a vision, and you also do three other things: First, articulate it simply. Second, communicate throughout your organization as well as to your board, investors, customers, vendors, and any other key stakeholders. Get everyone on the same page. Third, reinforce it with rewards for your people.

This is not as easy as it may sound, particularly for your own business. It can be extremely helpful to have an advisor who can work with you to develop the vision and make it simple and effective.

How clearly have you developed and communicated your vision?

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.