I was in a pretty interesting meeting this past weekend. A leadership team invited a special, and highly successful, guest speaker to give them a few words of wisdom and direction on moving their organization forward. His key word was “Vision”. However, what’s interesting about the meeting is that this same speaker was invited by basically the same leadership team to the exact same meeting place just 5 years earlier. The speaker gave pretty much the same message this past weekend as he did 5 years ago. In fact the speaker reminded everyone of that fact and went further by saying if we don’t get a clear vision of what we want to be, who we want to serve and how we’re going to measure our progress, he’ll probably be back again in 5 years to give the same speech for yet the third time.
Here’s the point… All of these leaders want to move their organization forward. But why don’t they? If you’re a leader reading this I would assume you want to move your organization forward. But why are so many organizations, teams, managers and employees still in the same place they were a year ago or five years ago? Thousands of books have been written about leadership, management, etc. Conferences and workshops are as popular as ever. It kind of seems like we’d have it figured out by now. But statistics for employee engagement remain pretty much the same at 17% year after year. Most companies maintain the status quo and seem either satisfied or resigned to their fate. So what’s the deal? In it’s simplest form, the deal is we have to get off go and begin the implementation process. You can’t just think it, you have to do it. Don’t have a vision? Get one today and write it down. Already have a vision? Then what are you doing today to bring you closer to that vision? What are you spending time on that has nothing to do with the vision? How are you tracking your progress toward that vision? Answer these questions and you’ll at least get off go and begin the process of implementing your vision. Or… you can go 5 years, look back and be pretty much in the exact same place with the addition of a few extra pounds, a few more gray hairs and couple more wrinkles. If you’re going to get the gray hairs and wrinkles anyway, you might as well see some successes to make it worth the time.
Have you ever taken the time and listened to a state of the union address from the president? Any president? It doesn’t matter who the president is, they’re usually all the same. Lot’s of empty rhetoric filled with emotion and promises that typically never come to fruition. The same can be said of many leaders, managers and employees alike. Here are a few of the ways these promises begin. You can fill in the rest…
Get the picture? I’m going to, I’m thinking about, I would like to, we’re forming a committee. Or how about this… Let’s have a meeting so we can talk about setting up a meeting to see who can be in charge of setting up a committee that can recommend how we can begin – (now fill in the blank). The one thing all of these statements have in common is nothing is actually being implemented. Nothing is being done. Remember this… You don’t get credit for just thinking about it or saying it. You actually have to do something. You have to get off “go” and start. What’s the plan? What’s the process to implement? How are you keeping track to insure the process and success is being achieved?
Begin today by stopping the talk about what you’re going to do and actually do something you’ve been talking about. You and your team will get credit for that! Maybe even extra credit.
P90X, The Insanity Workout, The Atkins Diet, Jane Fonda’s Buns of Steel, Jared the Subway dieting guy (pictured) and the list goes on. For decades, Americans have been obsessed with diets and exercise videos to get us in shape. You’d think by now we’d be the most healthy and fit generation in history. But it seems we’re in worse shape than we’ve ever been if you believe the many statistics available. One recent study stated that 83% of men and 72% of women would be overweight or obese by the year 2020. What’s the deal?
Peter Drucker, known at the father of modern management, wrote the book The Effective Executive in the 60’s. We had the One Minute Manager in the 80’s. Various leadership and management books are published every year. Thousands of blogs are written every day on how to lead and how to manage. You’d think by now we’d be the most effective and productive society in history. You’d think every organization would be overloaded with great leaders and managers. Sadly this isn’t even close to being the case.
What’s the deal? Kind of like the old phrase in politics, “It’s the economy, stupid”. The deal is… “It’s Implementation, stupid!”. Don’t take the stupid comment personally. If you’re reading our blog you can’t possibly be stupid. However, as the great fictional philosopher, Forrest Gump, once said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Now back to the point at hand. You can go to all the seminars and workshops you want. You can read all the blogs and articles you want. But nothing will change or improve until you implement. In order to effectively implement you must have a clear vision of where you want to be. By the way, your vision can’t keep changing with every new book or article you read. You must also have a clear and disciplined process in place. You must track results.
The reality is that most people who read a great book or go to a workshop or seminar get excited about what they hear or read and have good intentions of moving forward with these new ideas but within two weeks they’re back to the same routine they’ve always been in. Same thing is true with dieting and exercising. It seems like we let life and events get in the way. Or at least that’s our excuse. The real reason is our own desire to improve, our own discipline, the lack of a clear implementation process or maybe we’re just miscast in our current position at any company USA.
So here’s the deal… We’ll keep writing these blog posts, we’ll keep coaching and working with various organizations but we understand at the end of the day, only about 20% will get it. With the right organizational culture in place we’ve been able to push that number up to 50%. But that’s about it. The good news is that if 50% of your organization get’s it, you’ll be in the top 5% of your industry.
If you get it, you’ll have a clear vision, a disciplined process to get you there and a score that is within your control that can be tracked to show your progress and success. You’ll also be coachable with an understanding that you can and must get better every day. Got it?
Implementation… without it, nothing gets done. Lot’s of things get started, even more things get talked about. That’s what 2-hour meetings are known for… all talk and no implementation. We came across an article this week that classifies different types of managers as to their effectiveness. The article focused on managers since their main role is to turn talent into performance. In other words their job is to implement, to get things done. Often times leaders will have to manage. Additionally, as we read this article we also recognized that these same classifications applied to all employees and as managers it’s imperative that you recognize not only where you are but where your employees are. The funny thing is this… while only 10% of managers take purposeful action, the vast majority of managers will think they are part of the 10%. Here’s the reality check… all 90% are in the 90%. Now we believe the most engaged will actually take time to read this blog so you very well may be in the 10% of those getting things done. But feel free to pass this along to the 90% that you work with.
Here’s how the article broke it down…
10% take purposeful action. These people know the vision of the organization. They know how their team fits into this vision and they have a core score that can be tracked to show they are moving in the right direction. They produce and the results of their actions are easily seen and measured. Bottom line – They are Implementers.
40% are energetic but unfocused. These people are putting in their 40 hours and seem to be staying busy. Just one problem… they don’t have a core score. You must insure that these employees have set expectations and know how they are scored. It’s not just about hours but more about productivity and results that drive to the vision and purpose of the organization.
30% have low energy and are unfocused. Low energy is another word for lazy. Even if they are in the office for 40 hours a week they certainly aren’t working 40 hours. Check their Facebook activity. These employees are in the wrong job. You either need to move them along or in some cases find a different role for them that fits their talents. Odds are these employees have checked out and steps should be taken to make a change.
10% were focused but not energetic. This may be the saddest case of all. They know what needs to be done, they have a core score but they are too lazy to do anything about it or they just don’t care. They’re a paycheck collector. The best thing to do with this 10% is to fire them this morning. Life’s too short to deal with them.
Leaders: Make sure the vision and purpose of the organization is clear. Establish and communicate the core scores for your management team.
Managers: Track the core scores of your team on a daily basis. Identify where you and your team members fit into the percentages listed above and implement a plan to move your team forward.
Employees: Understand where you are as an employee and take responsibility for your career. Control what you can control. Demand a core score and that expectations be set for you.
Ever wonder why some programs never get off the drawing board? Ever wonder why that last program or initiative failed or faded away after just a few months or even weeks? Why do some organizations seem to thrive in everything they do and other organizations just seems to get by but not get noticed? Here’s the secret… Quit chasing after the latest program that floats your boat or the idea you read about in a magazine article or book. Instead, start implementing a process that all of your ideas and programs adhere to. Do that and you’ll see results you never thought were possible. Here are the 8 things you must do…
Leave one of these things out and the status quo will win… AND, if you like the status quo we’re not sure why you’re reading this blog in the first place.