Archive for the 'Productivity' Category

05
Oct
15

No-Compromise Leadership Choices Drive Consistency

consistencyNo-compromise leadership = Consistency across all four business outcomes (Productivity, Profitability, Staff Retention and Customer Loyalty). It’s such a simple equation. Yet, within its simplicity is a profound message to all who lead, or seek to lead others. The rich word for me here is consistency. Consistency is perhaps the most challenging aspect of no-compromise leadership to comprehend and live because how one leads is influenced by the leader’s collective abilities, beliefs, behavior styles, perceptions and life experiences.

How long your voyage to no-compromise leadership will take depends on current behavior patterns. Some people are natural achievers while others are procrastinators. There are those who obsess over every minor detail in their quest for perfection. In leadership positions they can bog things down by micro-managing everything. At the other end of the spectrum are those who hate the details and do all they can to avoid them. In leadership positions, they can wreak havoc by communicating in such broad brush stokes that the outcomes they desire are vague and open to broad interpretation … if achieved at all. For a company’s performance and culture to be consistent, its leader must be a model of consistency. This is non-negotiable. It is one’s commitment and ability to be consistent that defines the no-compromise leader.

No-compromise thinking is like an internal compass that guides your leadership behavior in the right direction. No matter which direction you face, it points toward leadership consistency.

By connecting “consistency” to the four business outcomes, it defines a leadership mission of the highest order. Consider the equation as the first line of your job description. Now, take it a step further and consider it the first line of any job description in your company. What would the performance of your company look like if everyone were held accountable for creating and maintaining consistency across the four business outcomes?

So, what does living no-compromise leadership look and feel like? I would have to say it’s the sum of all no-compromise moments, choices, actions, communications and decisions. Given this, how does a leader seeking to practice no-compromise leadership behave? No-compromise leadership is more than just a philosophy or cool business battle cry. It’s stepping outside your comfort zone, looking within for possible motivators and blind spots, and analyzing why a certain decision, course of action, or behavior is chosen. Something as simple as how you conduct your day-to-day time management of what you intend to do, versus what actually gets done, contains a whole host of no-compromise moments and chosen behaviors ranging from high achievement to total procrastination.

Consider the following situations:

  • You’re in your office working on a project with a deadline that impacts the entire company. A team member enters with a pressing issue he wants to discuss. How do you determine the right no-compromise leadership choice in this situation? How do you process the situation to make the best no-compromise decision? Is it a compromise if you stop working on that critical project to address another seemingly pressing issue? Is it a compromise to turn the team member away? The no-compromise leadership way would be to say, “I want to give my undivided attention to your issue. Can we meet at 8:00am tomorrow morning?”
  • You discover that one of your managers has been fudging some reports. It’s the 26th of the month and the team really wants to hit goal. A serious bonus payout is on the line. What would the no-compromise leader do in this situation? A decision to compromise and accept the fudged numbers opens up serious issues of integrity, trust and the consequences that go with that decision. The no-compromise decision to expose the fudged reports is the right decision, even if the consequences are unpleasant.
  • A high school principal witnesses a star football player skipping school the day before the big game. Knowing that any disciplinary action would have tremendous impact on the team, the school and the popularity of this leader – what would the no-compromise leader do? He must do as Coach Carter did at Richmond High School when his basketball players failed to uphold their signed contracts to attend class and maintain grades. Carter banned all basketball activities. The no-compromise principal must take disciplinary action – even if it means losing the big game.
  • A doctor makes a decision to write a prescription for a patient, influenced heavily by the kickback from the drug company and not the needs of the patient. Was the doctor following his internal no-compromise compass? Clearly not. The doctor had the opportunity to make the right choice, but a decision to compromise was made instead. If this doctor is the leader of the medical practice, his decision to compromise for a monetary kickback set a new acceptable behavior pattern for all to follow. He contaminated his company’s culture.
  • A waitress in a restaurant decides to pocket a $10 bill from a customer, in a business that pools tips, because the customer was very demanding and difficult. The waitress felt “entitled” to take the money, but her entitlement thinking guided her into making a decision that compromised one of the core teamwork policies of the restaurant. Her chosen behavior shifted from “we, us, team, the company,” to, “I/me.” The decision took no more than a nano-second to make, but the contamination to the team culture created a breech of trust that will linger for a long time.

The antonym of consistency is inconsistency. From a leadership standpoint, the quest for either begins with a choice. To incorporate No-Compromise Leadership into your daily leadership life, you have to make a choice between no-compromise and compromise – between striving for consistency or allowing and accepting inconsistency.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

07
Sep
15

Six Secrets to Achieving Monthly Goals

hitting_goalsBusiness is about driving growth and making progress. The only way to measure that growth and to know if your company is making progress is to have monthly goals. Interestingly, no matter how scientific or mathematically savvy you are at goal setting – a goal is simply your best guess. If you’re overly optimistic, your goal guesses will tend to be more aggressive and require high levels of coordination and effort. If you’re overly conservative, your goal guesses will be conservatively middle of the road. If your overly pessimistic, your goal guesses will typically reflect the lethargic state of your company under your leadership. If you don’t set monthly revenue goals, you are leaving the fate of your company up to the powers of the universe … which translates into, “If you don’t care – neither will the universe.”

Given that a goal is simply a best guess, the secrets to achieving monthly goals have everything to do with how you position, approach and apply effort to achieving those goals. If you want to lose weight and get fit, the first step is to make an unwavering commitment to losing weight and getting fit. I use the word “unwavering” because anything less leaves room for that rogue Twinkie and too many naps. Then comes the diet and fitness plan. Once the plan is set, it’s all about effort and execution. The more focused, intense and flawless the execution, the better the results and the closer you get to your weight and fitness goal. It’s the same in business.

Here are my six No-Compromise Leadership secrets to achieving monthly goals:

  1. Leaders give life and meaning to goals: A goal is simply a number if that’s all you put out there for your team. A goal number has no emotion, buy-in or energy if you don’t position it and give meaning to it. Your team needs to know the story behind the goal, where it came from and what it means to achieve it. If that goal was set with the expectation of everyone showing up and playing hard … tell them that story. If that goal represents the funding of a special project … tell them that story. If hitting that goal is about survival, paying the bank loan, making payroll or paying the bills … tell them that story. If that goal is about funding expansion, hiring and training new staff … tell them that story. Leaders give meaning and purpose to the best-guess goals they set. FACT: A goal is just a number if you don’t give it meaning. People won’t give their all for a number … but they will for a cause.
  2. And the plan is …: Goals aren’t achieved simply by everyone playing hard. Goals are achieved by executing the plan. Each team member knows what to do and when to do it. More importantly, team members know how their individual performance and contribution is essential to the execution of the plan. They know how their teammates depend on them as much as they depend on their teammates. Coordination, execution and mutual trust are the bonds that hold a plan together. Half-baked plans fall apart. Miscues, “but I didn’t know” excuses and finger pointing blame games wreck the execution of an otherwise good plan. FACT: Hitting goal rarely happens by mistake or luck. Hitting goal is an outcome that is both planned and coordinated.
  3. Relentless information flow is the drumbeat: Once the starting gun sounds, it’s all about information flow. Daily huddles are the non-negotiable updates that keep everyone briefed on progress, what to expect today and what needs to be accomplished today. Scoreboards aren’t silly tactics … scoreboards are visual tools to communicate progress and if the team is ahead or behind. During the game, leaders are both coach and cheerleader. And yes, sometimes the leader needs to pull a player from the game for poor performance or acting like a jerk. FACT: Maintaining team progress and a fast pace requires a steady drumbeat of information flow. Often times, that slightly better pace during the game (the month) is the momentum that turns a near miss into a “goal achieved” win.
  4. Adapt and overcome because shit happens: Even the best designed plans are subject to change when reality surprises you with a roadblock. I don’t know how else to put this other than; if you didn’t see it coming … you weren’t present enough and paying attention. That’s a pretty tough No-Compromise Leadership statement because it states that leaders, like the captain of a ship, must be aware of where they are at all times while identifying potential hazards as far out and as quickly as possible. FACT: If your business runs aground, you were off course and didn’t correct fast enough. If your business hits an iceberg … you were asleep at the wheel and didn’t heed the warnings. More goals are missed simply because the leader didn’t identify and address hazards fast enough.
  5. Tick tock and the final countdown: In business, monthly goals are ruled by the counting down of the clock. If your team is off to a slow start the first week of the month, it will have to play catch up. If it’s fast out of the gate, it needs to hold that pace to earn a record win. If it’s the fifteenth of the month and you’re 45 percent to goal … it needs to do 55+ percent in the last half of the month to win. FACT: Hitting goal is all about maintaining focus and the collective sense of urgency of the company. Instilling confidence, pride and a winning spirit in a team is what fuels a sense of urgency. Dictating, prodding and demanding, without showing respect and appreciation, fuels indifference and “I don’t care” thinking. It’s okay to get intense, emotional and spirited if it lifts a team to a win rather than taking a body count just short of the goal.
  6. The final score/win or lose: If your company hasn’t hit goal at least once in the last six to ten months … one or more of the preceding secrets need attention or an entire new approach. The worst approach to a long string of missed goals is to lower the goal to match the lack of focus, performance and sense of urgency. Missing goal month after month is demoralizing. The goal becomes a hammer and something dark rather than uplifting and worth fighting for. A missed goal should be a lesson and an opportunity to assess and adjust. There will be times when life, energy and focus don’t line up properly. That’s okay, as long as the leader pulls the team together and resets everyone back on course to goal. FACT: As with all things in life, hitting goal and the thrill of winning is the direct result of the commitment, discipline and effort of individuals and teams. Every monthly goal win is a cause for celebration followed by assessment and refinement. Every monthly goal loss is a lesson on what the company, as a whole, needs to do better.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

24
Aug
15

Dynamics of Productivity Rate

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