Bankers and investors want to know how things will turn out with a high degree of certainty in order to manage downside risk. Consequently, organizations that take professional money learn to conservatively state what they will accomplish to have a high probability of achieving plan. When actual results exceed plan there is cause for celebration as suggested by the under-promiseandover-deliver lines graphed in Figure-1. Continue reading →
The leader sets direction as suggested by the target in the upper right of the first panel in Figure 1. Then the leader aligns resources; that is, the leader collects followers who all look to hit the same target. Finally, the leader motivates action, suggested by radio bars in the lower corners of the figure, which causes the resources to progress towards the target.
Figure 1: A leader sets direction, aligns resources, and motivates action.
High-end leadership development curriculum content now available on Amazon.
Whether one wants to change personal habits, implement a new information system, improve a business process, get team members to work together, increase a community’s appreciation for diversity, or even to topple a monarchy, taking seven actions driven by seven disarmingly simple truths will individually and collectively help achieve the goal.
Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World is a workbook that top educators, consultants, and executives use to help their students, clients, and staffs become effective leaders of strategic change. Manage to Lead serves as the core content for a class in Organization Leadership, Analysis, Strategy, and Development at one of the top Organization Development masters programs in the United States.
The workbook was introduced in the spring as interactive, digital content via Inkling (the leading distributor of interactive digital higher-education content) and is now also available in soft-cover from Amazon. It introduces a straightforward framework to describe and assess any organization and provides a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance.
Those searching for high-end leadership development curriculum content should consider placing Manage to Lead at the center of their program. Contact the author to request related teaching artifacts including: Continue reading →
Most people cannot listen until they have been heard. As a consequence, wise leaders who want to affect thinking and behavior learn to first listen to those they aim to impact.
Holding back from jumping-in when a key point comes to mind in the middle of a fast-paced conversation can be a challenge but it is also essential in order to avoid being written-off as one who does not listen or understand, especially if the leader is new to the organization.
The following steps help a leader stay in-tune and attuned and dramatically improve their odds of success:
When someone talks, give undivided attention and do not interrupt. While s/he is talking you may think you know what they are going to say and what you want to say next rushes to mind. In that instant you experience an irrepressible urge to interrupt and jump-in. Following the urge causes many bright, successful senior executives to often unintentionally and repeatedly use the power of their position to hijack conversations. The pattern wears on those in the organization and soon the leader is written-off as one who never listens and who does not get, or care about, those they lead. Continue reading →
Being part of a start-up organization can be a most invigorating experience. Even for those with no equity stake, the energy and excitement is contagious and makes it easy to work hard for the good of the whole.
In the face of growth and strong performance, some may begin to wonder if the good times will soon end as founders, owners, and investors look to pocket the value that has been created through a sale of the organization to larger firm. Leaders sometimes struggle to keep up employee morale in such circumstances.
It can help for leaders to remind everyone in such circumstances that the best thing, in all scenarios, is to build the best possible business because doing so leads to:
Making the most positive impact in the market served,
Creating the most value for owners, and
Creating the most opportunity for employees to assume new responsibilities, earn increased compensation, learn new skills, and be in position to take on attractive roles upon an acquisition. Continue reading →
Countless other day-to-day matters that will eventually impact long term organization performance and growth demand similar attention. Many leaders struggle to reach a good, a better, or even a best solution to each. Continue reading →
Deep: Look for an extraordinary depth of competence in a functional or technical area or a methodology that is essential to the organization’s business;
Conceptual: The best leaders have an ability to abstract fully-formed concepts from a collection of parts and are able to communicate complex concepts clearly even to those who are not conceptual;
Connected: Target those who have strong interpersonal relationships with prospective or current clients, employees, partners, or funding sources; and
Driven: Look for an extraordinary inner commitment to achieve targeted results on time, on target, and on budget.
A diverse team of Deep, Conceptual, Connected, and Driven leaders who really like working with each other and who seek to accomplish the same end-result for the same reason and in the same way, have the collective capacity to accomplish nearly anything!
Each year, a well-run organization’s leadership completes a planning and budgeting process. Achievement of the resulting annual business plan is dependent on each organizational unit meeting or exceeding its established goals as part of that plan. This requires that individual leaders take ownership of their part of the plan.
The objective of the Executive Incentive Compensation Program (EICP) is to allow executives who meet or exceed annual performance goals, both financial and non-financial, to participate in the organization’s overall success. The more a given individual or group is responsible for the organization’s success, the greater their share of participation in the rewards. Participation in the program is an important career milestone.
Executives with significant scope and scale of responsibility for achieving an identifiable portion of the organization’s financial plan and who are, and who are expected to continue to be, employees in good standing are eligible to participate in the program. All staff proposed for inclusion are reviewed and approved by the Core Leadership Group.
Labor costs are the largest expense for many organizations and so should be carefully and responsibly managed; every salary action should be taken seriously. Nothing affects organization culture more than how people are paid.
Less experienced managers and leaders may use salary actions as a way to keep staff happy thinking, perhaps, that they are doing someone a favor or following an easier path. It turns out, though, that the easy way out can leave employees confused, just as dissatisfied, and questioning management motives and decisions.
Figure-1 Performance Appraisal and Salary Action Processes
A good strategy is to use salary actions to communicate important information to employees and to help supervisors and unit managers become better leaders. It takes significant time and effort to design, develop, implement, and institutionalize an effective salary administration process (see Figure 1) but is well worth it. This post presents steps responsible leaders can take to administer a fair and rational salary action process (see Figure 2).