Strategic Growth

Brilliant leaders are people who have something to say and walk their talk about it. All leaders sharpen their leadership competencies throughout their entire professional lives and leadership competencies can be learned, honed and crafted.

Leadership is not Management on Steroids

When we're busy and don't distinguish between leadership and management, we default to stronger and stronger management which can turn into a tough, exhausting micro-managed, command and control environment.

You will get results with command-and-control management only, but when you add leadership into the mix, you will exponentially advance the effectiveness of your management skills. When we say work smarter, not harder, this is the domain where that can actually happen.

Leadership craft is a lifelong pursuit. Brilliant leaders and are authentic and clear about what they're up to. They are comfortable in their own skin because they know the hardest work they'll ever do is on themselves. These leaders are present and stand for something, they are open to new ideas and feedback and they connect with their people. They speak about things that matter to them and you can hear their voice clearly and consistently. Their actions are transparent, so you know and trust them.

Whether in a small capacity or large, we all find ourselves in leadership roles from time to time. Maybe you're great at it, having strengthened your leadership competencies over the years, or maybe you're just starting out at leading yourself through the complexities of building your career, your book of business, or your division or organization. No matter where you are on your leadership journey, there's always room for improvement.

Management Excellence

There are many aspects to excellent management, and we'll touch on just a few here, because leadership without good management limits what's possible. Together, leadership and management can get the toughest projects, missions and strategies done.

Delegate don't abdicate, and then follow up, follow up, follow up. With everything that you do, ask yourself if there's someone else who could, or should, be doing this instead.

Be highly organized: touch everything on your to-do list only once. Don't stack & restack your tasks. Get it done or get it off the list. Have some fun and make a list of all the things you aren't ever going to do.

Give away your expertise. If you think you're the only one who can get something done, start training others to do it instead. If you're hanging on to those parts of your job where you are the expert, you're limiting yourself and the people around you.

Show that you can manage the big things by managing the little ones first. Get the tools you need, learn how to use them, and clean up your workspace. Create agendas for your meetings and have short, focused meetings that begin and end on time.

Those Pesky People Problems!

Whether you are growing or reorganizing, building your first company or your tenth, when working with people you'll get their and your best performance by modeling leadership and fostering trust, alignment and clear communication.

When companies struggle to do better, it always comes down to the interactions that people are having. Whether it's the stuff that's easy to measure because the metrics are crystal clear, like sales, gross profit and overhead, or the stuff that's harder to measure, like satisfaction and teamwork, it always comes down to people doing something with other people. If you think your team or company could be doing better, it probably can. And it probably starts with you because you're the one who's here.

download Leadership PDF

Whether it's your first strategic planning session or your goal posts just moved, sound strategic planning keeps your focus on the main thing and your head in the game.

Form Follows Function

Changing markets make us all go back to the drawing board at regular intervals. To keep your company or project moving forward in the right direction you first have to know where it is you're heading, and then tactics become effective.

Future focus is where we're going, why and by when. The heart of future focus is the clarity that the strategy and mission give to all of our current actions. Future focus determines the satisfaction you derive from your work. Here's a quick strategy check: are you working, working, just digging in the dirt, or are you gratified because you're creating a garden? Are you just scraping your knuckles on stuck engine parts or are you deeply engaged in building a racecar? Focus and strategy matter a great deal.

Strategy gives shape and context to our tactics and strengthens team and organizational alignment. Key performance indicators link tactics to strategy and people get rewarded when they impact the KPI metrics and move your project, your division and your enterprise ever closer to the strategic goals.

Want a Tiger in your Tank?

Get clear about your mission. Is your focus focused or are you all over the map – or somewhere in between? The focus of a team, whether a two person partnership or a multi-person C-Suite or Leadership Team (a team of cross-divisional senior leaders or managers), the elements that put a tiger in your tank are the focus and alignment of what it is the team wants to accomplish. We usually call this the team mission. Mission serves the purpose of aligning focus and coordinating your actions. Without a clear end-game, you'll waffle and stall, restart and then stall again.

Mission shapes behavior as form follows function because it sets priorities. Some missions require a high level of collaboration and others require an extraordinary amount of individual contributions and how we'd best behave is determined by our mission. Collaboration for the sake of collaboration can be fun and interesting but if it's not a critical success factor it can also be a total waste of time and energy. How we interact should be the most effective way that gets the job done or the mission accomplished.

download Strategy PDF

The sum of everything people do on your team and in your company is your culture.

Culture is a Scoreboard

Culture is an integrated blend of what gets measured, what gets rewarded, and the systems and processes that people use to interact. If you want a different culture, don't beat on the scoreboard to change the score. Instead, take stock of what's going on today and then make strategic changes in a new direction.

High performance cultures happen as a product of alignment when accountable people focus their attention on specific outcomes.

In all high-performance environments you will find people walking their talk, asking first from themselves what they expect from others. You'll see and hear people saying what needs to get said and, especially when things are tough to say, people will continue to find ways of being open with each other and engaging in straight talk.

People give their best performance when the focus is on excellence and resolution versus perfection and blame. In a blaming environment, all people want to do is find cover. In an environment of resolution and learning, it's safe to ask for help and problems get solved as soon as they're noticed, when they are small and easier to fix. It's easy to blow out a match, very tough to put out a forest fire.

The combination of practicing these transparent behaviors leads to people experiencing vitality and enthusiasm from their work and on their teams. You'll find that when times are tough, people pull together to regain confidence and restore momentum, and in this environment, exceptional progress is made and celebrated.

Quick Culture Check (10-minute web survey)

Changing Culture

Culture change is a big deal and success requires thoughtful investment of your people and financial resources.

Begin with strategic planning sessions that incorporate your changing business needs with your strategy. Measure twice and cut once by examining and exploring what factors are critical in order that new metrics and outcomes can be achieved. How does success look at the end of the culture change?

Measure and quantify the changes and outcomes. You'll develop and use new metrics & key performance indicators to make sure you're on track and heading toward success.

Making your commitment and sponsorship visible is critical to making it happen. Develop a communication plan and create deliberate opportunities for people to contribute their own best ideas and get their questions answered. In this way, you'll gain the support of the people who are actually implementing the changes.

Sustain communications to reinforce and reward new business practices. When it's said that 75% of all culture change efforts fail, it's often because of a weak strategy where people tried to change too many things at the same time. New behaviors, processes, systems and practices take time to learn, integrate and improve. Focus on the main things first and keep people motivated and engaged by encouraging learning and feedback.

It may be counter-intuitive when deploying new systems, but it's best if the old system is eliminated as quickly as possible. Systems and process changes initially require a duplication of effort which is exhausting to continue for a long time.

Celebrate all improvements, continue to tighten-up strategy and tactics as you move forward, and create strong learning loops among teams and divisions. When culture change is done well, it's worth all the effort, cost and focus that it takes.

download Culture PDF

Raise the bar on performance!

We all want brilliant leaders for our projects
and in our companies.

Leadership is learned.

Strategy is created & adapted.

Culture is the result of what gets measured, what
gets rewarded & how people interact.

Be a genius in the business of your business