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Strategic Leadership

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
It is important that a leader exercise proper control. However, if you exercise too much control you could hurt your business. But it can be tough to let go. Here is how it can happen. A business is started by an owner with a vision to create a great product or service. The owner must spend much time working in the business to make sure that the product or service gets out, the money gets collected, and the bills get paid. That is very important for business survival. The owner works hard IN the business. He or she must attend to every detail and, if he forgets one thing, it could be a disaster. The business owner spends most of his or her time working IN the business and virtually no time working ON the business. Why is this problematic? When the owner starts the business he or she needs to...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You are moving in a direction toward you goals and assume that your team is on the same path. You assume that they know what the objectives are.  In other words, are you taking a course of action, assuming the team is following but turn around and there is no one there. You know what happens when you assume! You ask your staff to follow then turn and find no one there.  The best way to insure organizational alignment is to be a focused leader who empowers and engages your team. When this happens, they will in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success. Focused Leader - You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are the leader. You appoint yourself CEO but your team will follow you only if you show you can lead.   As manager you can influence the process...
Tagged in: Team Leadership

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You may have heard of The Peter Principle. Lawrence Peter’s book by this name argues that, in a hierarchy people tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence. He noted that although this is not planned it is the unintended consequence. You get a promotion usually because you performed well in a previous job. Some very important reasons exist for doing this. Rewards encourage engagement and increased performance. However, companies make a flawed assumption that employees who do well in a previous job will continually do well in increasingly more difficult jobs. Inevitably, according to the Peter Principle, the person ends up being promoted to a job where they are no longer competent. This is referred to as their "level of incompetence". The employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching his or her career's ceiling in an organization. We can see examples of The Peter Principle in...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Are you laser focused or are you a multi-tasker? Being a multi-tasker in running your business may create problems. Instead, staying focused and staying sharp on the things necessary to grow and change will yield the best results. Sometimes owners get lazy and in a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. Maybe the business has had years of successful sales and profits. Since the business is still making money and continuing to operate the reasoning is, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Eventually, the business could reach a stage on leveling off or declining sales or profits. Maybe there are changes in the industry or in the economy. To remain successful, the business owner must refocus. Here are five essentials for refocusing. 1. Make sure you know what business you are in. If you make cell phones do you provide smart phones, or do you create facilitated mobile...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Having your organization aligned is just as important as having the wheels on your car aligned. In both cases mis alignment creates disastrous results. The reason for non-alignment in the business is a lack of clear vision and without a clear vision everyone is on a different page. While that is personally frustrating it can cost your company good employees and customers. If you want to change that then be ready to change three areas involving your business. Here they are: Let’s start with the focused leader. You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are the leader. You appoint yourself CEO, but your team will follow you if you are the leader.   As managers we can influence the process through which people recognize our leadership by creating an environment where people will join “the team” because they see the purpose of what they...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Do you want to learn the truth? There are some organizations that never ask their staff how the company is doing. But fear of hearing bad news will not make the bad news go away. Ignorance is not bliss although it appears to that many companies are just not comfortable asking the ultimate question, “How are we doing?” It is easier for companies with retention problems, for example, to focus on compensation issues. But, according to Gallup around 30% of employees are engaged at work. That means that 70% are not engaged in their jobs at your company. Recently Gallup released a new survey on employee engagement. When I read the commentary, I could see that engagement is not static information but depends on company, employees, and time. There is a take away and that is that we can’t make a universal supposition of what engages people. Instead, we need to...

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  • Gabe Sanders
    Gabe Sanders says
    Thanks Great tips for anyone who would like to improve their business.

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
A leader needs to navigate the team in the same way a captain navigates a ship. As a leader your role is to navigate your organization or your team through the uncertainties. The good and necessary management skills such as planning, directing and controlling are important but you will fail if you do not display inspirational leadership. The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. That’s right. If all of the students fail the exam, then the fault lies with the teaching. Like students and teacher, you and your staff may not be on the same page. Management and Leadership are both important but there is a difference between the two. A good manager has proper control of systems and procedures and a good leader will inspire action and model behavior. We can help people follow our leadership by creating...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Achievers are always accountable for results.  And leadership fails when the leader does not hold all team members accountable.  Creating a culture of accountability requires collaboration, communication of goals, and understanding the nature of motivation.  Having conversations about accountability should be combined with empowering your team to take ownership of their work.  You need to communicate the goals and the desired outcomes, but they need to be a part of it.  Be totally transparent regarding challenges and obstacles.  Your team should not fear making mistakes but should learn from them.  Honest and direct conversations need to occur if you expect the right outcome.  When a team member is part of those conversations collaboration will occur. How does this help a manager who is responsible for team performance?  Consider what happens if you have an employee who needs to speak up and offer opinions but fears doing so?  You cannot have accountability,...
Tagged in: Accountability

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Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Many great individual performers are rightfully promoted to manager. But you need to understand that there is a difference between being a great performer and leading a team of great performers. In fact, a great leader does not have to be the best performer or know the individual jobs at all. That might be hard for a newly promoted manager to understand. After all if you are a newly appointed manager who had mastered the individual roles of your department you feel that knowledge makes you a better manager. Not so. The qualities that made you a star performer are not the same qualities that will make you an effective leader. Here are leadership philosophies from two well-known management consultants. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker “The...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Fear of change is an emotion that can become paralyzing.   But change is inevitable and all businesses must expect it. You have probably heard it said that what you did to get you to where you are now will not get you to where you want to go next. Changing the right things and taking the right action is crucial. Here are 5 beginning steps to take in the process of change for better results: 1.        Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether you are in real estate, construction and contracting, graphic design, or consulting you must define what you provide to the customer. For example, Kodak should have realized that it was not in the film business but in the image and impression sharing business. In real estate are you selling houses or assisting buyers in improving their lives? 2.        Get in front of change.   The best...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
A high performing team is always created by an effective leader. Conversely, if an organization is full of performance issues you need only to look at leadership to diagnose the cause of the problem. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” talks about great companies being great because they are led by what he defines as a “Level 5” leader. Such a leader has all the essential abilities including contributing team member, competent manager, effective leader, and great leader. However, he or she also possess the unique blend of humility and will which is required for true greatness.   Start by hiring the people that fit the mission and vision of your organization and possess shared values. You then must keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In today’s world, it is not enough to be...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
If you were just appointed manager what is now your new responsibility? In the earlier times of business and industry the role of a manager was not that complex. The manager oversaw what employees did. People performed or were fired. This traditional boss is no longer effective and no longer welcome. Management today is more complex. There are really two parts: management and leadership. As manager you are responsible for the performance of your team, your business, or your company. In essence, the buck stops with you. That does not mean that you do everything yourself. It also does not mean that you offload your responsibility to your employees. It means that you get results with your people. That means that you must delegate with confidence. You must be confident because you can only delegate tasks and even authority but you can never delegate your responsibility. An effective manager must still...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
All results, good or bad, are the result of the leaders. Think about organizations in the news, both good and bad, and the leader of the organization is heralded or blamed. Yes, the leader sets the tone, the direction, and also models behavior. Positive results are the result of positive leaders. Show me an organization that functions very well and I can show you a positive engaged leader. I recently asked a group of employees in Westchester County NY what was wrong with their company. They replied, “We need positive leadership. We need leadership with people skills.” What does your organization need? Does it need more sales or more profits? Does it need an updated marketing plan that gets results? Does your organizational structure need to change to get business to the next level? Regardless of how you answer these questions one fact is abundantly clear. It is your people who...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Fear of change is an emotion that can become paralyzing.   I am reminded of a story relayed to me by a Westchester County NY CEO. The business has had years of successful sales and profits. Although the long standing business model had produced great sales and profits, lately there had been a small decline in sales and profits. Since the business was making money the CEO reasoned let’s just see what happens. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. Unfortunately, with this business and others there are constant changes in the economy and market. You can wait for change to force you to do something and then react. But that is not the best option. The best option is to predict and get in front of change. These are some of the things you should you should be doing proactively: 1.        Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Are you doing the job you are paid to do? If you were promoted to management recently this is a fair question. There a large difference between being a great individual performer and a great manager and leader. In 1969, Lawrence Peter wrote a humorous book titled The Peter Principle in which he postulated that, in a hierarchy people tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence. He noted that although this is not planned it is the unintended consequence. Companies make a flawed assumption that because the employee was a great individual performer in the previous job that he or she will adapt and become a leader of the team. Inevitably, according to the Peter Principle, the person ends up being promoted to a job where they are no longer competent. This is referred to as their "level of incompetence". The employee has no chance of further promotion,...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Are you running as fast as you can but finding that no one is following you? Worse than that, are they running the other way? C, that you empower your engaged employees, that they will in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success. Focused Leader - You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. You appoint yourself CEO but your team will follow you if you are the leader.   As leader you will create vision, model behavior and inspire results. With your inspiration people recognize your leadership. You will be creating an environment where people will join your team. They see the purpose of what they are supposed to do and understand the vision as well as the values of the organization for which they work. Today’s fast-moving business environment demands that the effective leader be both,...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
What makes a great leader? Many people debate that there are certain leadership traits. Even if that is true these traits have most likely been developed. The development of your leadership depends on the environment such as type of organization, team demographic, and nature of mission. One trait of a successful leader could be a liability in someone else’s leadership. A great leader is effective and effectiveness means understanding the situation, the team, and the desired results. Rather than being born a leader the traits needed can, most of the time, be developed. Traits like knowledge and skills, however, do not guarantee success. It is necessary for a leader to develop successful habits. Just as there are habits of highly successful people there are also habits of highly successful leaders.   Here are seven habits of highly effective leaders. A Leader always does the right thing. That is one of the principles...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
What causes the difference between a high performing team and one that is dysfunctional and full of performance issues? There could be a number of causes but one cause for sure would be poor leadership. An organization is only as good as its people. Your first role as leader is to select the right people. After you have hired the right people your challenge as a leader is to keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In our business climate it is not enough to be good, you must exceed customers’ expectations. This takes a coordinated effort of individuals that work together toward a common goal. You may have heard it said that there is no “I” in team. This is true and it means that individuals who are qualified and intelligent but do not work...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
If your team is not following you then, perhaps, you are not leading them. When I consult with business owners in Westchester County New York often I hear comments about getting the staff to do the right things. Sometimes an owner is willing to place all the blame on the staff being lazy, unmotivated, or the like. Fortunately, most will ask how they can improve their ability to get the team behind them. You can change things by learning how to become a focused leader. A focused leader empowers engaged employees who in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success. A Focused Leader - You may have the title of manager but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. As managers we can influence the process through which people recognize our leadership by creating an environment where people will join “the team” because they see the...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Are you spending so much time working IN your business that you never get around to working ON your business? Michael Gerber discusses this in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses the reasons. The e-myth or the entrepreneurial myth as described by Gerber incorrectly assumes that the desire of the new business owner or entrepreneur, plus capital, plus a profit goal will result in success. But this has not spelled success for business and the lack of the true understanding of what it takes has caused businesses to fail. Some businesses may survive due to external dynamics and timing but they will become stagnant and the owner will feel like a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. For example, in the restaurant industry there are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel that because they know how to create a great meal that that they...

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