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Strategic Leadership

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
The employees of your business are important to your success. And today more than ever their connection with their job and your business is directly related to your success. In past times, leaders would give directions and expect them to be followed. Leadership today requires collaboration. Instead of saying what you want done you will say, “here is what we can accomplish together to achieve our goals.” Unfortunately, I am sometimes contacted by business owners that can’t understand why there are so many bad employees and they want me to fix them. I was asked by a family business what I felt needed to be done to “make their people work.” They did not ask me what they could do differently. For starters, family members disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one family member over the other. The managers in...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
I remember seeing the movie Ground Hog Day and thinking how hilarious it was to wake up every day and repeat the previous day over. We would not want that life but how many of us have Ground Hog Day at our business? How many of us get up in the morning when the alarm rings, go to the office, go through emails, catch up on uncompleted work, start the day’s work, take phone calls, try to meet the day’s deadlines, go home, tell everyone what a busy day we had, go to bed, get up in the morning when the alarm rings……   Like Bill Murray in the movie, have you come to the realization that you are doomed to do the same thing every day? Break the cycle! As I have mentioned before, when this lack of purpose happens, you are working IN your business rather than ON your business....

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Management and Leadership are two important roles and it is best if they work together. As manager you are guiding and controlling and as leader you are visioning, modeling, and motivating. In the earlier times of business, 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. As manager you are responsible for the performance of your team, your business, or your company. The buck stops with you. However, 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 by working with your people. You do this by properly delegating with confidence. You must be confident because you can only delegate tasks and authority. You don’t delegate...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Many small businesses are family owned businesses. Suppose you started your business years ago and you have built a profitable business for you and your family. Your children are now working in the business. What will happen when you exit? Many parents do not have a plan in place for when they exit the business. There are number of steps that should be taken to prepare. These include legal, financial, and preparing the next generation to take over if they want to work in the business. In the first two areas you should work with an attorney and financial planner who understands tax laws. This is particularly important if you have other children who will not be working in the business. Now whether you seek succession of your business to your children or whether you seek to exit through sale you need to develop a strategic business plan. Your plan will...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
What would you like to happen in your business in 2019? You would like to be a success story but the possibility exists that you may be a statistic. One of the biggest challenges is not starting as a solo entrepreneur but growing the business and adding people. Michael Gerber, 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 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. This is because there is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership....

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You may have the management role with the authority but there is a difference between power and authority. By virtue of your position you have the authority. But really, if people don’t respect you or your opinion you really have no power to influence or inspire them. Have you noticed certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. They may have no title but people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their ability to inspire and gain respect. Would you like to know how you rank in this area? Ask your colleagues or employees to give you some “360 feedback.” Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. That alone should increase their level of respect because you are showing you value their...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Where do you see your business going in the next year? If you are a business owner in Westchester County NY you should be giving this serious consideration. Creating an appropriate strategy will be most successful if you look at your business today, look into the future, then make a plan to create your future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my clients with a strategic plan: 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 way to this it...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
People debate what makes a good leader. Some feel that there are traits that make good leaders. But when I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. The only trait that is agreed upon is having empathy. Well then, what do have successful leaders have if they don’t have similar traits? All successful leaders have the ability to set goals and achieve results. This really what is meant by “management by objectives.”     Start with a clear strategic vision—a strategic plan that inspires. Then create goals that support that vision. Next, what are the desired results from your team members? Define them. Align your people and your processes and make sure that everyone understands the goals and the plan. All of your operations should be linked to your plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving that...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
How many times have you heard the statement, “That is the way we have always done it.” We tend to look at the past when we create the future. If you don’t believe that then think about how you create your annual budget. Do you use the same items and just mess around with the numbers? What happens if this is disrupted. Yes, there are disrupters out there in every industry—people and companies doing something revolutionary to create a need. You may not see it coming. Have you ever thought, “if I disrupt my industry what would it look like?” You can’t wait for someone else to disrupt—you should be the disrupter. That takes more than predicting the future—that takes MAKING the future! These are some of the things you should you should be doing proactively: 1.        Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether you are in real...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
If you want your employees to take initiative they must have skin in the game. You can do that by letting them take ownership and pride in their work and their decisions. Rather than giving them very detailed instruction tell them what needs to be done and make them accountable for the results. This is the best way to get things done. If you are frustrated with the results of your team, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First, have you provided them with the tools to succeed? Second, have you clearly communicated the objectives and desired results?   You may have you given plenty of detailed directions without explaining reasons and objectives. The first thing you need to do is let go and empower your team. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two different approaches to giving an employee an assignment....

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
What is your leadership and management style? Have you ever thought about it or has anyone asked you? It is true that different environments require a different style. Leadership and management is much more complex than mastering an individual job. For that reason and others as well, the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. I had the opportunity a while ago to be part of a group invited to listen to Ken Blanchard discussing building trust, creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, leadership and organizational change. Ken reinforces some of the values and beliefs that been proven to create positive corporate cultures. You have it wrong if you consider yourself a leader because you have been placed in charge. On the other hand, a person with no direct reports can be a very effective leader. The reason that is so is that you need to learn how...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
What is good about your business and what could be improved? Would you like to know? Before you answer that question, I have another. Can you handle the truth? Sometimes when an organization asks for help and receives feedback it could be surprised to learn some inconvenient truths. If you really want to improve your organization you will want to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can’t handle the truth you won’t have an opportunity to make things better. If you want to learn how to improve your organization, you will want to have an organizational assessment of your business. There are very effective assessment instruments available to generate a fact-based picture of organizational performance. However, it is important to have a mutual understanding of the process first. So, before I begin the process I want to make sure that it will have a meaningful impact. I...

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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