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.
Great leaders spend 40% of their time in the field with their people. This is a primary discipline of great leadership. Unfortunately, many leaders, unbeknownst to them, have voluntarily checked out. In other words, by not spending this time in the field the leader can’t possibly know the pulse of the organization and can’t possibly lead in an effective manner. The leader that chooses to lead exclusively from the board room as a so-called decision maker will miss the mark more often than not. Many times these types of leaders will create unintended consequences through their decisions. Take a look at the article we linked to below, “Lessons from the water-boy: How to lead and serve“. Your actions as a leader will have an impact. Your visibility on the ground floor will have an impact. Here’s the deal. If you’re a leader in the organization then get involved in the organization. It’s not about what you are willing to do. It’s about what you are doing. The article below speaks of “servant leadership”. With that in mind, here’s the question of the day… How are you serving your organization? Are you serving from the mountaintop or are you a 40%’er who is serving where the people are?
Take a minute or two and read the article we’ve linked to below. As you read, be honest about where you are; where your team is; where your organization is. Most don’t want to be be extraordinary… Are you part of the most or one of the few? Don’t just read this article, act on it.
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?
Welcome to the Bizzaro World… Where the sky is green and the grass is blue. Where everything is the opposite of what it should be. Ideally, the bizzaro world would only be seen in comic books, TV shows, the movies or your craziest dreams. Unfortunately, from time to time we see organizations transition from the real world to this new world of the completely backwards and insane. It takes a special kind of leader to bring you to this place. One would think these leaders only existed in fairy tales, but they are real and they lead real organizations. Here are just a few examples that we’ve come across…
We get it… we really do. We understand many of these companies need these new customers. But then again, who doesn’t need or want new customers. There’s just a smart way and a right way to do it. But giving your best deals to new relationships instead of existing relationships is just plain crazy. If you really want to stick it to your most loyal customers, your advocates, then employ this strategy. Stay in the bizzaro world and not only will the sky turn green but profits will magically turn in to losses and your best customers will walk away. However, if you want sustained and remarkable growth, focus on your advocates, create the best and most special deals for that group. They will sing your praises and will continue to be your greatest unpaid sales force.
Have you encountered one of these Bizarro World Leaders? Tell us about it!